IBM Senior Vice President Colleen Arnold and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal were on hand for an announcement that the company will set up a technology center in downtown Baton Rouge as part of a public-private riverfront development.
The IBM technology center will create 800 direct new jobs and another 542 indirect jobs, and will provide software development and maintenance services to the company’s clients in the U.S.
IBM will partner with Louisiana State University (LSU) and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to expand higher education programs and employ college graduates and professionals in the computer science and STEM fields.
The State of Louisiana will shell out $14 million over 10 years to help LSU double its faculty for computer science, and triple the number of graduates it produces in the next five years.
IBM will be working with LSU to create coursework more in tune with their needs in terms of technology, software development and application development.
LED has offered IBM a $29.5 million in performance-based grants over 12 years as an incentive package. Baton Rouge chipped in with $1.5 million for workforce training, recruitment and relocation expenses.
The best part is that construction of the building is being financed with state and local funding. The core of the $55 million riverfront development project will be an office building that will house the IBM Services Center, along with a separate residential building.
The IBM office building will require an investment of $30.5 million, with the state providing $14.8 million. Another $3 million will come from the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge. The remaining $12.7 million is being funded through a federal CDBG grant.
The office and residential complex will create another 600 construction jobs.
LSU College of Engineering Dean Richard Koubek said the partnership between LSU, IBM and LED was a “powerful example of the triangulation between industry, government and academia that elevates the state’s role as a national leader in economic development.”
Gov. Jindal said the project was a game-changer that would have a generational impact on Baton Rouge and Louisiana. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden it would have a ripple effect on private investment, and send a message to the next generation about Baton Rouge being a great place to study and work.