John Warner Smith is the second University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate in a row designated Louisiana Poet Laureate.
An expansion of tech company CGI will bring 400 new, direct jobs to Lafayette, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced during his address today at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that opened the state’s Legislative special session.
With the new jobs, employment at CGI will rise to more than 800 in coming years. The increase will include at CGI’s Lafayette IT Center of Excellence located at UL Lafayette’s 143-acre Research Park, and at a second, as yet undetermined site in Lafayette.
In Louisiana, the company will employ a total of 900 people.
A partnership between the University, Louisiana Economic Development, and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority was formed to attract and recruit CGI to Lafayette. The University provided support by leasing land for the center.
CGI, which is based in Canada, chose Lafayette in April 2014.
UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie called the public-private partnership a “model of great success.”
The university helped CGI meet its target of 400 employees in Lafayette two years ahead of schedule, thanks in part to the launch of the state’s first master of science degree in informatics, Savoie stated in a press release.
More than 47 percent of CGI’s college hires are UL Lafayette graduates, and more than 60 percent of its overall workforce in Lafayette have Louisiana roots.
UL Lafayette will continue to lead a 10-year, $4.5 million, state-funded higher education initiative that will triple the number of undergraduate degrees awarded yearly by the University’s School of Computing and Informatics.
In May 2016, Edwards and CGI dedicated the $13.1 million, 50,000-square-foot information technology center, which serves as an anchor for the research park.
In March, CGI announced that the Lafayette center had surpassed its full employment target by hiring more than 400 employees. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project has resulted in 405 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 800 jobs in the Acadiana region.
The CGI Lafayette Center’s annual payroll exceeds $22 million in Lafayette. Over the next decade, its cumulative payroll will exceed $480 million.
“Here in Acadiana, we are proving how powerful and game-changing our economy can be,” Edwards stated in a press release.
To support CGI’s expansion, the state offered the company incentives that include a performance-based grant of $5.3 million to offset the costs of personnel relocation, recruitment, training, and operation and maintenance costs.
“CGI is proud to make this renewed commitment to job creation in Lafayette, where a skilled and highly motivated workforce continues to exceed expectations on behalf of our clients undertaking critical digital transformation projects in Acadiana and across the country,” said Dave Henderson, president of CGI’s U.S. commercial and state government operations.
CGI’s operations in Lafayette focus on application development and emerging digital technologies. Among them are the deployment of data analytics to optimize performance and to identify cost savings for clients; hybrid IT, cloud and infrastructure management; and streamlined citizen and industry interactions with government through digital solutions.
Photo, from left: Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards during a visit to CGI in Lafayette on Tuesday. Doug Dugas/University of Louisiana at Lafayette