New IBM Technology Center to Bring 800 Jobs to Baton Rouge
The state of Louisiana will provide $14 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher-education programs designed to increase the number of annual computer science graduates. At least 65 percent of these funds will be provided for expansion of the Computer Science Division of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at LSU. 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 in the top 10 to 15 nationally for the number of B.S. degrees in computer science awarded annually. To fast-track program growth, LSU's College of Engineering will launch the "Geaux Digital Louisiana" consortium. This initiative represents a statewide partnership with high schools, community and technical colleges and other universities to promote interest in computer science related career fields and enhance student recruitment. Additionally, IBM will work closely with local professors at LSU to create coursework focused on technology, math and software development, and equip students to meet the growing demand for business services, including advanced analytics, process innovation and application development. "This public/private partnership with Louisiana Economic Development, IBM and LSU is a powerful example of the triangulation between industry, government and academia that elevates the state's role as a national leader in economic development," Koubek said in a statement. A central element of the public/private partnership involved in securing the IBM center is the construction of a mixed-use, riverfront complex that will be developed by Commercial Properties Realty Trust (CPRT), a real-estate investment trust that manages and develops property holdings of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF). Inspired by New Urbanism design principles, the complex will include an office building that will house the new IBM Services Center, as well as a separate, 11-story residential building with 95 river-view apartments and nine separate townhomes."The IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge is a game-changer for our city, putting us at the forefront nationally of producing a technology-based workforce and new jobs," Mayor Holden said in a statement. IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge joins IBM's globally integrated capability network, which delivers deep technical and industry expertise, the company said. It is the latest in a series of job-creating investments IBM has made in high-tech, science and innovation in support of the global competitiveness of U.S. workers. This builds on IBM's efforts to develop technology skills for primary and secondary school students through its Young Explorers and Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) programs, as well as to train college students for high-tech jobs in local markets.
Total investment for the combined development is estimated to be $55 million. The approximately $30.5-million office building will be funded by the State of Louisiana ($14.8 million) and the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge ($3.0 million), as well as $12.7 million in Community Development Block Grant funds. The office building is scheduled for completion by spring 2015 with the residential complex following in the summer. During construction of the new riverfront complex, IBM will temporarily lease space at an office complex in Baton Rouge. CPRT estimates that the new complex will result in the creation of approximately 600 construction jobs.