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CGI Federal's new facility to bring 400 jobs to Lafayette

Jessica Goff jgoff@theadvertiser  CGI Federal is moving into town and part­nering with the state and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and CGI Federal Presi­dent James Peake, speaking Monday at the Lafayette Economic Development Authority headquarters, announced the company's plan to build a new technology center in the Uni­versity Research Park.

Ground for the $13.1 million project will break this year behind the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. The state government will pay for the building and lease it to CGI. The company will use temporary quarters until the building is completed.

The facility will create 400 direct jobs with a payroll of $22 million, plus 405 indirect jobs, Jindal said. "CGI is among the world's leading providers of IT and business process services and represents yet another significant win for Louisiana's fast-growing technology sector," Jindal said during Monday's press conference. "This project provides further validation of our work to create a new Louisiana." Peake said the company may start posting job openings as early as June.

CGI Federal is the American branch of Montreal- based CGI, a 38year-old international information technology and business process services firm. Along with its affiliate companies, CGI employs 68,000 people in more than 40 counties. About a thousand of those jobs are in the U.S. Peake said the new Lafayette facility will provide IT application development, maintenance, testing and integration services. The company has similar centers in Belton, Texas; Lebanon, Va.; and in Troy, Ala.

"We can do anything in IT from tier one to tier two - that's everything from infrastructure to apps development," Peake said after the conference. "It is a joint project with the state as part of a development program. It's going to be world-class. I think it's going to be a real positive draw for the students."

Peake said the company chose to partner with UL and move to Lafayette because the university is known for support technology education. Jindal also announced that the state will put $4 million into UL's computer science and informatics program over 10 years to increase the number of graduates.

"There's a number of things we look for in a community. One is a good business environment. Two is the type of partnership with a particular academic community with strong IT programs," Peake said. "In the last few years we've been coming down here and getting to know the people and there's a sense of community here that is a palpable part of Lafayette and we are anxious to be part of it."

UL President Joseph Savoie said the public-private partnership will provide hands-on education and potential jobs for young professionals.

"This collaboration will enable the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to build on its strong legacy in computer science," Savoie said. "Through our strategic partnership with CGI, we will provide students with the knowledge and specific computer science skills needed by the software industry."

CGI's incentive package will include a $1.1 million grant from LEDA to reimburse the company for costs as it operates in the temporary facility.

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