IBM Breaks Ground On New Technology Center In Baton Rouge, LA

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Gov. Bobby Jindal and IBM Senior Vice President Colleen Arnold joined other leaders to break ground on the $55 million urban development in downtown Baton Rouge that will be home to the new IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge upon its completion in mid-2015. The project will create 800 new direct jobs, and LED estimates the project will result in an additional 542 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,300 new permanent jobs in the Capital Region of Louisiana.

The IBM technology center has already been operating at its temporary space in Baton Rouge and employs more than 100 people. The company’s Baton Rouge operation develops software applications and other business solutions for domestic customers.

Gov. Jindal said, “IBM joins a long list of technology companies that have expanded or established offices in Louisiana since 2008, all of which are collectively on track to create more than 3,200 new direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs in Louisiana.”

“As IBM continues to grow in Baton Rouge, we will continue to meet our client’s evolving needs around Big Data, mobile, social business and cloud,” said Colleen Arnold, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services.

The Baton Rouge center will provide IBM clients in the United States with solutions that address the increasing demand for flexible software services to keep up with Big Data cloud and mobile requirements that they are facing. IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge will deliver technology services that include application development, application management and system integration.

For the IBM project, the State of Louisiana will provide $14 million over 10 years to expand higher-education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual computer science graduates. At least 65 percent of those funds will be provided for expansion of the Computer Science Division of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at LSU.

As a result, LSU plans to double its computer science faculty and triple the number of computer science graduates in five years, which will place the LSU Computer Science program among the top 10 to 15 programs nationally for the number of bachelor’s degrees in computer science awarded annually. To fast-track growth, LSU’s College of Engineering will launch the “Geaux Digital Louisiana” consortium. A statewide partnership, Geaux Digital Louisiana will engage high schools, community and technical colleges, and other universities to promote interest in computer science-related career fields and to enhance student recruitment.

IBM will work closely with local professors at LSU to create coursework focused on technology, math and software development, equipping students to meet the growing demand for business services in advanced analytics, process innovation and application development.

“LSU is excited to work with Louisiana Economic Development and IBM on a partnership that is bringing new educational and job opportunities to our state,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “LSU is committed to having a top computer science program, and welcomes students to take advantage of the opportunities offered through the Geaux Digital partnership and the LSU College of Engineering.”

Another public-private partnership secured construction of the IBM center’s permanent site. Commercial Properties Realty Trust (CPRT), a real estate investment trust, will build the $55 million urban development. CPRT manages and develops property holdings of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and the BRAF-affiliated Wilbur Marvin Foundation will own the IBM office building and an adjacent 11-floor residential building with 95 river-view apartments and nine town homes.

LED offered IBM a customized, performance-based incentive package that also includes grants totaling $29.5 million over 12 years, including a $1.5 million contribution from the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, to reimburse costs related to personnel recruitment, relocation and other workforce-related costs; internal training; and facility operating expenses. The company also will utilize LED FastStart® for recruitment support, as well as Louisiana’s Quality Jobs program.

“BRAC applauds IBM for the advances they have already made to date to establish their Baton Rouge services center,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Having over one hundred jobs already in place shows how serious they are about growth, and is a positive early sign about the quality of our software talent. Today’s groundbreaking is an important moment in the history of the region’s economy.”

IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge joins IBM’s globally integrated capability network, which delivers deep technical and industry expertise. It is the latest in a series of job-creating investments IBM has made this year in high-tech, science and innovation in support of the global competitiveness of U.S. workers. This builds upon IBM’s efforts to build technology skills for primary and secondary school students through its Young Explorers and P-TECH programs, as well as to train college students for high-tech jobs in local markets.