The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has taken its place in the top level of the nation’s research institutions
Gov. Bobby Jindal, CGI executive Dr. James Peake, Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel and University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Joseph Savoie joined other officials Tuesday in breaking ground on the new CGI IT services delivery center at the UL Lafayette Research Park.
The 50,000-square-foot facility will serve as an anchor tenant for the 143-acre research park, where CGI will create 400 new direct jobs. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 405 permanent new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 800 new jobs in Acadiana. At full employment, the center will have a total annual payroll of about $22 million. The project also will generate 80 construction jobs.
In Lafayette, CGI will solve complex business and IT challenges for clients seeking services from a technology partner that shares a common time zone, language and understanding of client business operations. CGI selected Lafayette in April 2014 after a nearly two-year site-selection process that evaluated locations across the U.S.
A key part of the project includes a state-funded, 10-year, $4.5 million higher education initiative led by UL Lafayette that will result in a tripling of the number of undergraduate degrees awarded annually by the university’s School of Computing and Informatics. That growth is anticipated to place the university’s computer science program among the Top 25 programs nationally for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.
“As one of the world’s leading providers of IT and business process services, CGI headlined a tremendous group of new technology projects that we attracted to Lafayette and Acadiana during 2014. This region has reached a new level of economic momentum that will propel the growth of the UL Lafayette Research Park while creating great new jobs for hundreds of families in this area.
“Thanks to partnerships with great companies like CGI, more people are working in our state than ever before. We’re proud that CGI continues to invest in the Lafayette area, and that Acadiana will continue to shine as one of our state’s leading centers of economic growth,” Jindal said.
Founded in 1976, CGI is based in Montreal, with U.S. headquarters in Fairfax, Va. The company employs more than 68,000 professionals in 40 nations and counts major government agencies and corporations among its clients. In its 2014 fiscal year, CGI recorded revenue of $10.5 billion, up 4.1 percent from the prior year.
“This groundbreaking is the culmination of a unified vision shared by CGI and the education, community and policy leaders of Louisiana that a strong economy depends on a highly trained, skilled technology workforce,” said Peake, a U.S. Army retired lieutenant general and the president of CGI Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of CGI serving clients in the civilian, defense and intelligence sectors of the U.S. government.
“As part of the center, and through our unique partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and other local institutes, CGI is establishing a research and technology innovation lab here to advance cutting-edge technologies, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data and data visualization.”
LED began discussions with CGI about a potential Louisiana technology center in August 2012. To secure the project, LED offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $5.3 million to reimburse personnel relocation, recruitment, training and building operating costs. CGI will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart® and is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Digital Interactive Media and Software Development incentives.
Local incentives for the project will include a grant not to exceed $1.1 million from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, or LEDA, for the reimbursement of relocation costs and operating costs in a temporary location. UL Lafayette will provide a 10-year land lease that will include a $600,000 in-kind contribution by the university for the first five years of the project, matched by a $400,000 performance-based state grant to the company over the sixth through 10th years of the lease.
“University Common, which includes the university’s Research Park, is poised for development that will be guided by UL Lafayette’s Master Plan,” Savoie said. “That plan calls for the addition of retail stores and residential units, and improvements to our athletics facilities, the Cajundome and the Convention Center. So the university’s Research Park and nearby property will become a more vibrant place where people live, work, shop and socialize. We’re pleased that CGI will be part of that environment.”
“We have always felt Lafayette had a lot to offer,” Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said. “The one thing we were missing was that one ‘big thing’ that helps tell our story to the world. CGI is the kind of company that gives all of our efforts in Lafayette the credibility we have been waiting for. It complements the great companies already here, and tells the tech world that Lafayette is a legitimate player for your business to consider.”
“Today’s groundbreaking represents a significant step in Lafayette’s economic diversification,” said President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.
“The 400 employees that CGI will employ at this facility are the foundation of the fourth leg of Lafayette’s business base. Along with health care, energy and entertainment, Lafayette’s burgeoning technology sector will provide the kind of quality jobs that will keep our graduates in the region and bring back those who have left to seek opportunities elsewhere. Our community, with its innate innovative spirit, can only benefit from having this new tech-focused and creative workforce in place. At LEDA, we look forward to continuing our work together as the company becomes an integral part of the university’s research park and the community.”
CGI will lease space for its center in the new 50,000-square-foot, $13.1 million building that is being funded by the State of Louisiana at the UL Lafayette Research Park. The building will be owned by UL Lafayette or its affiliated, nonprofit support organization, Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Inc. Construction will be completed in time for CGI to move into its permanent home in early 2016. Prior to that move, CGI will operate in temporary office space it is leasing in downtown Lafayette on Jefferson Street, where the company will begin operating in February with more than 40 employees.
The 13,680-square-foot downtown Lafayette site offers a capacity for 180 employees. CGI will move to the research park approximately one year later and reach full employment of 400 professionals within the next four years. CGI is hiring both experienced information technology professionals and qualified recent college graduates. Additional information about the company’s open positions may be found at cgi.com/Lafayette.
Founded in 1976, CGI Group Inc. is the fifth-largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. Approximately 68,000 professionals serve thousands of global clients from offices and delivery centers across the Americas,
Europe and Asia Pacific, leveraging a comprehensive portfolio of services that include high-end business and IT consulting, systems integration, application development and maintenance, and infrastructure management, as well as a wide range of proprietary
solutions. CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). For more information, visit www.cgi.com.