POSTED: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 9:20am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — IBM has annouced the company will set up shop in Baton Rouge. 1,300 people will be hired as part of the new IBM Services Center.
Both IBM and the Mayor's Office said they're looking to hire graduates from south Louisiana colleges.
Mayor Holden said it's a game changer for Baton Rouge, not just for downtown, but for students at LSU and Southern in fields like computer science, mathematics, and engineering.
“IBM doesn't have to go and look for anyone else because the talent pool is established already through the programs we put together in Baton Rouge,” stated Holden.
IBM is already working with LSU and other schools to tweak classes in order to get the most qualified graduates.
The company is paying for the $55 million project with a combination of grants and local money.
Holden said it's one of the biggest boosts downtown has seen in some time - one that could bring countless other tech businesses to the Capitol City.
“I predicted in January that this is going to be the best economic year in the history of Baton Rouge, and so far it turned out that way,” said Holden. “Today is the crème of the crème when you have IBM opening a major shop right here in Baton Rouge.”
It's good news for the city, but even better for college students looking to start their careers here in Louisiana.
“We went through a nine month selection process, and Baton Rouge - with LSU - really ended up being the talent pool and the promise for our strategy,” said Colleen Arnold, IBM Senior Vice President.
Over the next two weeks, IBM is visiting LSU, Southern, Southeastern, UL-Lafayette and UNO.
The company is hosting a job fair in Baton Rouge on April 23.