CGI Finds the Skilled Workers it Needs in South Louisiana
Launched in a basement in 1976 with only one phone and a single client, Montreal-based CGI today stands as the fifth-largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. The company’s continuous growth is a testament to its strong partnerships with the clients and communities it serves. With operations in 40 countries across the globe, and with a current worldwide employment of 77,500, CGI’s carefully planned acquisitions and attention to evolving trends solidified the company as a global leader in its field.
As many companies continued to outsource IT functions overseas, many others determined that it was crucial to have a presence in North America. This was especially true when CGI won state and federal government contracts, which came with strict restrictions on employment. By 2012, CGI had invested in onshore delivery centers in the U.S. including sites in Texas, Virginia, and Alabama. The onshoring trend continued, and opportunities emerged for CGI to better position itself for new clients and U.S.-based contracts.
Identifying locations with a talented workforce was a key strategy for CGI. Louisiana’s skilled workforce and nation-leading digital media tax credit made the state a strong contender for CGI’s next investment as it made efforts to stay ahead of reshoring trends.
South Louisiana Makes the Case
Louisiana’s highly ranked business climate offered CGI a strong operating environment, and Lafayette emerged as a leading option. The city provided a pipeline of talent for new IT investments and impressive assets like the nationally recognized computer science program at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a superior workforce, a community bonded by culture and spirituality, and forward-thinking business and government leaders who recognized that technology spurs strong, healthy economies.
Spotting a perfect fit, Louisiana Economic Development (LED), alongside regional business leaders, and local and state officials, crafted an agreement to bring CGI’s newest Onshore IT Center to South Louisiana.
“Lafayette’s unparalleled fiber-optic network, paired with strong partnerships between innovative businesses and local educators to build a talented homegrown workforce, made choosing Acadiana as the location of CGI’s fourth U.S. onshore IT services Center of Excellence is an easy choice.”
– William LaBar, Vice President of Consulting Services, CGI
Custom-Fit Solutions Seal the Deal
LED partnered with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and developed a comprehensive plan to ensure CGI would have all the resources in Lafayette, including:
$4.5 million higher education initiative over 10 years. UL Lafayette pledged to triple the number of annual computer science graduates produced in its School of Computing and Informatics – providing a consistent pipeline of talent for CGI, and placing UL Lafayette among the Top 25 programs nationally for the annual number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in that field. CGI would also collaborate with faculty and staff to develop curriculum tailored to CGI’s projects.
CGI would have access to the state’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Program, which had already proved to be of value to other software developers in Louisiana.
State committed to $13.1 million performance-based grant to fund the construction of a permanent 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the UL Lafayette Research Park, to be used by CGI. The new facility would serve as the company’s showcase product development building – an advanced and attractive center to host potential clients and demonstrate the work of CGI employees in real time.
Comprehensive, customized workforce services of LED FastStart® for recruitment, screening, and training prior to and during the company’s hiring period.
The comprehensive incentive package developed by the state proved attractive to CGI, as it met many objectives to better position the company for onshoring trends.
How it All Unfolded
CGI pledges to double in size over the next decade.
CGI makes its largest acquisition to date by merging with Logica and is ready to expand. LED makes the case for investment.
Louisiana agrees to build a 50,000 square-foot, $13.1M state-of-the-art facility in the UL Lafayette Research Park.
Louisiana offers a $4.5 million higher education initiative over 10 years to be led by UL Lafayette.
CGI selects South Louisiana and opens its Onshore IT Service Center in the new facility.
CGI remains as the anchor tenant of the 143-acre UL Lafayette Research Park.
CGI exceeds its goal to of hiring 400 professionals, a year ahead of original projections. Announces plan to hire 400 more.
CGI surpassed their original employment target of 400 professionals a full year ahead of schedule; and in 2018 announced plans to hire 400 additional employees. In the 10 years between 2015 and 2024, only counting the original 400-job commitment, CGI will have generated $366.2 million in income, creating an economic impact of $929.8 million in Lafayette Parish.
CGI has been a good corporate citizen in Acadiana. Employees regularly organize litter pickup events as well as sustainability projects such as the collection of electronic waste during Earth Week, hauling in 11 tons in 2019. In public schools, the company’s STEM@CGI program has interacted with 40 schools in the Acadiana region.
CGI’s growth and success has cemented Lafayette’s reputation as a premier technology hub in the Gulf South. The initial commitment and subsequent expansion announcement demonstrate CGI’s confidence that South Louisiana can provide the workforce necessary for the company to serve their clients. These jobs at CGI will continue to keep local graduates here and attract those who want to make their home in Acadiana.
Here in Acadiana, we are proving how powerful and game-changing our economy can be. 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.
– John Bel Edwards, Louisiana State Governor
Incentives certainly help solidify business decisions, but if you don’t have access to the talent you need, investments won’t be sustainable. What keeps us in communities is being able to hire, and what brings talent to a place is their ability to build a life there. South Louisiana’s renowned quality of life is a significant driver in talent relocation.
– William LaBar, Vice President of Consulting Services, CGI
The dynamic collaboration between UL-Lafayette and CGI has focused on creating internships, capstone projects and employment opportunities for our students. We’re producing high-quality undergraduate and graduate students from across multiple disciplines who are able to find jobs right here at home, thanks to CGI and other innovative companies in our region.
– Dr. Joseph Savoie, President of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
When CGI announced the decision to open a facility in Lafayette in 2014, we knew it was the nascency of a new and vibrant industry in Acadiana. What we didn’t know was the transformative impact those 400 jobs would have on the region as the energy sector entered a downturn. These 400 jobs have provided quality employment opportunities for graduates with local upward mobility. We look forward to CGI’s continued growth in Lafayette and working with the company and our community partners to make Lafayette a premier high-tech hub in the southeastern U.S.
– Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority