In an announcement made Monday at Lafayette Economic Development Authority in Lafayette, La. Governor Bobby Jindal and CGI executive James Peake say the company has selected the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's 143-acre Research Park to establish a technology center that will create 400 direct jobs, and at full employment, will result in an additional 405 new indirect jobs and will have a total annual payroll of about $22 million.

“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," said Gov. Jindal, who opened the press conference. "UL-Lafayette has had an amazing computer science department for years...The arrival of CGI in Lafayette means we will retain even more of our best and brightest graduates while also recruiting out-of-state talent who will recognize Louisiana as the best state for business and career opportunity."

Lafayette was selected for the establishment of this technology center after a nearly two-year site selection process that included many cities across the country. "UL-Lafayette has had an amazing computer science department for years," says Gov. Jindal. "This doesn't happen overnight."

The technology center will develop complex business and IT solutions for clients seeking services from a technology partner that shares a common time zone, language and understanding of client business operations. A key part of the project includes a state-funded, 10-year, $4.5 million higher education initiative led by UL Lafayette that will result in a tripling of the number of undergraduate degrees awarded annually by the university’s School of Computing and Informatics. With computer science programs to be expanded at UL-Lafayette, the growth is expected to place them among the Top 25 nationally for the number of bachelor's degrees awarded annually.

CGI executive James Peake, Photo by KPEL

“We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the economic growth and vision of Lafayette and the surrounding region,” said Peake, a U.S. Army retired lieutenant general and the president of CGI Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of CGI serving clients in the civilian, defense and intelligence sectors of the U.S. government. “Our partnership with Lafayette represents a groundbreaking model for CGI – bringing together the local community to identify opportunities for innovation that can be applied globally, while tapping the talent and resources of Louisiana. As a continuation of our relationship with the state, this partnership will help create 400 jobs and serve as a model of corporate-community cooperation for keeping technology jobs in America. We congratulate the State of Louisiana and the Lafayette community on this comprehensive, innovative program.” Peake also highlighted the area's culture and people and how attractive they were to CGI.

“This collaboration will enable the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to build on its strong legacy in computer science,” UL Lafayette President Joseph 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. This marriage of higher education and business will lead to innovation that is an essential element of today’s knowledge economy. By providing professionals needed by high-tech companies, UL Lafayette will play a key role in developing Louisiana’s economy.”

UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie, Photo by KPEL

“Today’s announcement by CGI is the culmination of more than 30 years of building a reputation that Lafayette, La., is a premier technology hub – not only in the South but in the entire U.S,” said President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “CGI officials recognize the strength of UL Lafayette’s superior education programs and specialized centers, and the community’s assets and innovative spirit. CGI’s decision to locate more than 400 jobs in Lafayette is another step in keeping our highly trained graduates in the area and in attracting those who want to make their home in Acadiana. At LEDA, we look forward to continuing our work with CGI as they become an integral part of the University’s Research Park and of our community.”

CGI will lease space for its center in a new 50,000-square-foot, $13.1 million building that is being funded by the State of Louisiana at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Research Park. The building will be owned by UL Lafayette or its affiliated, nonprofit support organization, Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Inc. Construction will begin this year and will be completed by year-end 2015.

CGI will begin hiring in the next few months and begin operations at a temporary location in late 2014. The company will reach full employment of 400 professionals within the next four years. Additional information about the company’s hiring plans will be made available online in the coming months.