LAFAYETTE — The Schumacher Group will invest $19 million to expand and keep its headquarters in Lafayette, a move that will create more than 600 new jobs with an average salary of $62,500, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Thursday.

The $19 million capital investment will include expanded headquarter facilities and a specialized training space, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.

The expansion was made possible in part through the state’s Mega Project Fund, which will reimburse the company for up to 50 percent of the cost, or up to $9 million, Jindal said during a Thursday morning news conference at the company’s offices on Corporate Boulevard.

The Schumacher Group contracts emergency room services to hospitals across the country, employing 1,200 people in 24 states and managing emergency medical services for more than 180 hospitals, said Kip Schumacher, company CEO and founder.

The company also contracts with about 3,000 physicians and nurse practitioners, and is the third largest such company in the country, serving more than 3.5 million people, Schumacher said.

The addition of 600 new jobs is expected to have an economic impact of $2.45 billion on the Gross Domestic Product of this parish over the next decade, said Greg Gautreaux, president of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

“That’s phenomenal,” Gautreaux said. “This is the biggest project announcement in a decade.”

The expansion is also expected to create another 784 new indirect jobs for a total of about 1,400 new jobs for the Acadiana region, Jindal said.

The expansion is meant to further the company’s goal of providing care for patients both before and after they receive treatment by emergency room physicians and staff, Schumacher said.

“We started realizing that the future is really about coordination of care,” Schumacher said, adding that the goal is to provide relationships that are “a lot more personal and a lot more in depth.”

He called the 600 new jobs figure “very conservative.”

“It’s really exciting to realize the opportunities we have to take that to a much higher level,” Schumacher said.

The expansion will begin in 2010 and is expected to be completed by 2014, Jindal said.

The project comes on the heels of Halliburton’s announcement earlier this year about plans for a $64 million expansion that will create 150 new jobs for the city.

Jindal said the company ultimately chose to remain in Lafayette over other options that included Houston, Dallas and Atlanta.

“They started right here in Acadiana but they didn’t have to stay here,” Jindal said.

The governor credited the state’s Quality Jobs tax credit, the Digital Media tax credit and the state’s Fast Start worker training program for helping to keep the company local.

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel thanked Schumacher for his passion and love of the area.

“If this is not why all of us ran for office, then we all need to be voted out of office,” Durel said.

He said the area can have great schools, universities, hospitals and cultural attractions, but “if our people don’t have jobs, they’re out of here.”