Gov. John Bel Edwards and CGI executive Dave Henderson announced the company will launch a significant expansion of its Lafayette IT Center of Excellence and create 400 new direct jobs, with CGI employment rising to 800 over the coming years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Research Park, and at a second Lafayette Parish site to be determined. Statewide, CGI’s employment will reach 900.
In March, CGI announced the Lafayette IT Center of Excellence had surpassed the original full-employment target of 400 professionals. Now, the company will build on that baseline with a second phase of growth. Over the next decade, the CGI Lafayette center’s cumulative payroll will exceed $480 million.
“Here in Acadiana, we are proving how powerful and game-changing our economy can be,” Gov. Edwards said. “We’ve structured a partnership involving state and local government, economic development and higher education, and we’ve developed a blueprint for growth in the digital economy. CGI’s clientele includes oil and gas, manufacturing, retail, health care, utilities, government, banking, insurance and communications customers. So, in reality, by growing this technology presence in Lafayette, we are touching virtually every sector of the economy while touching nearly every neighborhood in this community with exceptional careers.”
The announcement marks the completion of an amended Cooperative Endeavor Agreement, or CEA, among the State of Louisiana; CGI Federal; UL Lafayette; the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, or LEDA; Louisiana Economic Development, or LED; and Ragin Cajun Facilities Inc., the university affiliate that owns and manages the 50,000-square-foot facility where CGI is located on the UL Lafayette Research Park.
In Lafayette, CGI is solving complex business and IT challenges for clients. In May 2016, Gov. Edwards and CGI dedicated the $13.1 million, 50,000-square-foot information technology center, which serves as an anchor for the research park. CGI will explore plans for a second Lafayette facility.
“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 Henderson, who serves as president of CGI’s U.S. commercial and state government operations. “Since opening our campus facility in 2016, we have continued to measure success in many different ways, including the time and resources our employees have committed to community engagement, whether through youth-oriented STEM education and environmental sustainability projects, or our successful ongoing collaboration with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The commitment of our employees in Lafayette embodies what is most important to us at CGI and represents a strong reflection of our heritage, values and commitment to the region.”
To support CGI’s expansion, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $5.3 million to offset the costs of personnel relocation, recruitment, training, and operation and maintenance costs. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive and Quality Jobs Program. CGI will continue to lease its state-funded original location from the university-affiliated Ragin Cajun Facilities Inc. while 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 annually by the university’s School of Computing & Informatics.
“The public-private partnership between CGI and UL Lafayette in its first three years is already a model of great success,” UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie said. “It’s proven to be a win-win for both partners. For example, CGI and the university collaborated on curriculum development and created a new degree program. As a result, this spring, UL Lafayette launched the state’s first Master of Science degree in Informatics. The university helped CGI meet its target of 400 employees in Lafayette two years ahead of schedule. 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. The company offers competitive salaries for our graduates to remain in Acadiana. Current UL Lafayette students also gain relevant experience while working at CGI.”
In the Lafayette community, three college graduates hired by CGI founded the STEM@CGI program that forms partnerships with local schools to conduct annual day camps focused on Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics. Utilizing a U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant, CGI also joins Lafayette Parish Schools — including Acadiana, Carencro, Lafayette and Northside high schools — New Vision Leadership Foundation of Acadiana, and David Thibodeaux STEM Magnet Academy to mentor students for future careers in the digital workforce.
“As a leader in their industry, CGI both enhances and diversifies the landscape of our economy,” Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said. “In a very short period of time, they have already proven to be an active and engaged community partner.”
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.
“Today’s announcement by CGI cements Lafayette’s reputation as a premier technology hub on the Gulf Coast,” said LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux. “Their initial commitment of 400 jobs and today’s announcement of 400 additional jobs, demonstrates CGI’s confidence that Acadiana can provide workforce necessary for the company to serve their clients. The high-skill technology jobs created at CGI have been transformational to our economy. Technology crosses into every industry from energy to finance, from health care to retail, helping to spark job growth and educational opportunities across the region. These new jobs at CGI will continue to keep our graduates here and attract those who want to make their home in Acadiana. We look forward to CGI’s continued growth in Lafayette and Acadiana.”