Information from Louisiana Economic Development:
Company will deliver technology solutions as an anchor tenant in the 3,000-acre National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City; State-supported higher education initiative will expand computer science and cyber engineering programs at Louisiana Tech University
BOSSIER CITY, La. – Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and CSC executive David Zolet announced the company's selection of the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City for the establishment of a 116,000-square-foot, next-generation technology center that will have 800 direct jobs within four years. CSC will become an anchor tenant of the 3,000-acre research park being developed by the Cyber Innovation Center, a not-for-profit research corporation. CSC selected Bossier City following a competitive site-selection process during which the company considered 134 locations around the country.
CSC's technology center is the result of an innovative, public-private partnership that will include expanded higher education programs and build a next-generation workforce in cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data and application modernization. To support the project, a higher education initiative funded by the State of Louisiana and led by Louisiana Tech University will dramatically expand the number of graduates in computer science and related fields in the region, such as Louisiana Tech's Cyber Engineering Program. The center – which by 2017 will have a total payroll of about $39 million, plus benefits – will employ a broad range of college graduates and experienced professionals with backgrounds in computer science and related fields.
CSC will occupy the park immediately in a 40,000-square-foot temporary space within the Cyber Innovation Center, with construction beginning on the new facility later this year.
The permanent technology center housing CSC employees and a data center will accelerate the development of the National Cyber Research Park. A landmark project, CSC's next-generation IT center in Bossier City will rank as one of the largest technology projects in Louisiana history. In addition to the 800 new direct jobs, LED estimates the CSC project will result in 805 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,600 new jobs in the Northwest Region.
Gov. Jindal said, "Every economic development win we announce is important because it means a new opportunity for Louisianians who can stay here and pursue their dreams, but today's announcement is especially significant. This is one of the most significant economic development announcements in the history of Bossier and Northwest Louisiana. Not just because it will result in the creation of 800 new jobs in Louisiana, but also because this announcement means that Northwest Louisiana is truly becoming a national player in the technology sector, including software development, cyber security and cloud computing.
"CSC selected Bossier City over 133 other sites across the country. That shows Northwest Louisiana can compete with anyone because of its strong business climate and our incomparable workforce. Because of CSC's decision, Northwest Louisiana is going to become one of America's new technology hubs, enabling the region to attract technology partners of CSC as well as other technology companies attracted to the growing IT workforce here. CSC, the CIC and Louisiana Tech will literally be developing an information technology ecosystem in this region. This is a project that literally will change the face and future of Northwest Louisiana."
Founded in 1959 as Computer Sciences Corporation, CSC is a global provider of next-generation IT services and solutions with approximately 80,000 employees and reported revenue of $13.2 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 27, 2013. The company's successes include modernizing one of the world's largest supply chains and streamlining logistics for a major branch of the U.S. Armed Forces; designing and implementing a precision dispatching system for a major railway; managing the world's largest insurance application services program; reducing costs and improving performance of IT systems for a global chemical and energy client; and implementing a new supply chain management system for one of the world's largest manufacturers. In Louisiana, CSC's integrated technology center will be engaged in many similar initiatives, helping clients advance their operations with transformative technology solutions.
"As we transform our company into a next-generation IT services provider, we are committed to developing a next-generation workforce skilled in cloud computing, cybersecurity and big data technologies," said Dave Zolet, CSC executive vice president and general manager. "The special public-private partnership with the State of Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Bossier Parish Community College provides a strong platform for building a recruiting pool for our company and anchoring the development of a new technology corridor."
The State will provide $14 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual graduates in computer science and related fields. At least 65 percent of these funds will be provided for the expansion of such programs at Louisiana Tech University, which plans to quadruple its total undergraduate degrees awarded annually in computer science, computer information systems and cyber engineering over the next five to six years, not including advanced degrees. That growth is anticipated to place the Louisiana Tech University computer science program among the Top 20 nationally for the number of bachelor's degrees in computer science awarded annually by an engineering school, with a No. 1 national ranking anticipated for cyber engineering.
"The workforce needs of CSC align exceptionally well with the academic programs offered at Louisiana Tech University. I am confident that this partnership will have a transformative impact on North Louisiana and will serve as a catalyst for further economic growth," Louisiana Tech President Les Guice said.
LED first began cultivating a potential project with CSC executives in May 2013; discussions among LED, CIC and CSC about this specific project began to advance in August 2013. To secure the project, LED offered CSC a customized incentive package that includes a $9.6 million performance-based grant to reimburse relocation and recruitment expenses related to the project. CSC will receive the services of LED FastStart®, ranked as the No. 1 state workforce training program in the U.S. for four years in a row. CSC also is expected to utilize Louisiana's Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, as well as the Quality Jobs Program for positions that do not qualify for the software incentive.
In 2008, Gov. Jindal committed $57 million in state funding, matched by $50 million from local governments, to establish the Cyber Innovation Center and support a technology research park that also would collaborate with strategic missions at Barksdale Air Force Base. Accordingly, the CIC served as the administrative home to the 8th Air Force for three years until April 2013, when the 8th Air Force rejoined expanded facilities of the Global Strike Command that is headquartered at Barksdale. CSC's temporary space will fill the CIC area vacated by the 8th Air Force.
"We invested in the Cyber Innovation Center to attract these type of opportunities to our community," Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker said. "Without the CIC, we would not have been able to secure these 800 jobs. We are very excited for what this means to our citizens."
"This is a defining moment for our community," said Bossier Parish Police Juror Wanda Bennett. "These jobs will give those who left our community an opportunity to return home, while providing our current students with career options that did not previously exist."
CSC will lease space for its center in a new 116,000-square-foot building to be constructed in the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City near the existing CIC building. The building will be funded by the State of Louisiana ($29 million), while related data-center infrastructure (for example, backup power generators, uninterrupted power supplies) will be funded by Bossier City and Bossier Parish governments ($5 million each); the building and data-center infrastructure will be owned by the city and parish and managed by the not-for-profit CIC. CSC will make a substantial investment in data-center equipment (servers, etc.) and other computer technology that will ramp up with employment.
In addition to providing 40,000 square feet of temporary operating space for CSC, the Cyber Innovation Center will support the development of the new technology center and manage the facility after its construction at the National Cyber Research Park. CSC anticipates completing the construction of the 116,000-square-foot technology center in the second quarter of 2015. The research park's proximity to Bossier Parish Community College, adjacent to the park on U.S. Highway 80, and Barksdale Air Force Base and its Global Strike Command, also nearby, will provide CSC with partners for the development of a next-generation workforce. In addition, CSC – which employs 8,000 military veterans companywide – will establish a relationship with Fort Polk in Central Louisiana as it continues a longstanding commitment to hiring veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses.
"The size and scale of this opportunity will be a catalytic event that will accelerate the growth of a cyber economy in our community," said President Craig Spohn of the Cyber Innovation Center. "This opportunity will further diversify our economy and serve as a foundation for growth well into the future."