IBM is springboarding off of its service center in Baton Rouge, announcing Monday that it would open an application development and innovation center in Monroe, which will create 400 jobs.
The technology facility will anchor an 88-acre mixed-use development across from CenturyLink’s headquarters that is being built by Robert Daigle, the Lafayette developer who did the River Ranch community there. The unnamed development, which is being built on undeveloped land owned by CenturyLink, will contain a mix of residential, commercial and recreational space.
Along with the 400 jobs at the IBM offices, Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will create more than 400 new indirect jobs. LED did not disclose the average annual salaries for IBM employees.
The application development and innovation center will provide software technology services to clients across the United States. IBM also will partner with CenturyLink on research, development and product innovation efforts.
“Two of the most successful economic development projects we’ve embarked upon in recent years are the multiple corporate headquarters expansion projects by CenturyLink in Monroe and the innovative public-private partnerships that created IBM’s technology center in downtown Baton Rouge,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday. “This project replicates those successes by combining two of the leading technology companies in the world in a partnership that will pay great dividends for the community and the economic future of Monroe, the northeast region and our entire state.”
LED officials said the IBM facility will provide hundreds of new jobs for college graduates in north Louisiana and serve as a career option for the partners of professionals recruited by CenturyLink to Monroe.
The state will provide $4.5 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual computer science graduates in north Louisiana. The University of Louisiana at Monroe will expand its computer science and computer information systems programs while nearby Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University will expand technology programs in related areas, such as cyber-engineering and data analytics.
IBM will work with professors to recommend curricular changes focused on technology, math and software development to equip students with backgrounds in business services, including advanced analytics, process innovation and application development. The company has a similar arrangement with LSU as part of an effort to increase the number of computer science graduates to help ensure a steady pipeline of qualified local employees for IBM in Baton Rouge.
The state will provide $12 million for construction of new office space for IBM in Monroe. A University of Louisiana at Monroe foundation will own the IBM space and lease that space to the company.
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