BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - CSRA Inc. opened the doors to its Integrated Technology Center (ITC) in Bossier City Tuesday, marking the completion of a two-year development project they say will bring hundreds of new jobs to Northwest Louisiana in the coming year.
CSRA is a Falls Church, Virginia-based company that provides technology services to the federal government.
According to a release touting the opening, the new facility "will serve as a competitive delivery center that will enable CSRA to deliver a full-range of next-generation information technology services, securely and flexibly - including solution delivery, cyber operations and application development - at a competitive cost for the company's federal government customers."
More than 400 people came to the grand opening, including Lauren Schneider, who started interning with the company as a student at Louisiana Tech back in 2014.
"I went from being a full-time intern to working part-time casual with the company and then when I graduated they offered me a full-time position," she said.
Schneider is now a full-time ITC communications employee and she will soon have more company.
The ITC is contracted by the state to create 800 information technology jobs by June 2018. Company leaders report they've already hired more than 400 local employees in the last two years, all working in IT.
"Information technology services to the federal government so we can do application development. We do cyber security, cyber engineering, network engineering, anything in the technology realm," explained ITC Director of Operations Ashley Rockett.
Local leaders call this a boon for Bossier City.
"Being selected over 135 other locations says a lot about what we have to offer in northwest Louisiana and in this state," said Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also attended the grand opening. In his remarks, he said centers like the ITC should be prioritized, especially in light of the $2 billion budget shortfall this year.
"You don't shoot with a shotgun anymore. You shoot with a rifle. Create investment and create a synergistic effect between the public sector and the private sector partnering with higher education. All of the things, in fact, that CSRA is doing."
Another ITC goal is to hire graduating college students and keep them in-state.
"We really have truly created a new industry here," Rockett said. "We're doubling the population of information technology professionals here, university hires that can remain in the area and not have to leave and I really hope that that's one of the things we see for success here."
Schneider is from Houston, Texas but now she calls the ITC and Shreveport-Bossier home.
"Even though I'm not locally-raised, I feel very drawn to the area of Shreveport-Bossier," she said.
CSRA leaders told KSLA they have 150 immediate job openings.
You can check out what they are here.