CIC tenant to bring 800 jobs

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CSC building 116,000 sq. ft. facility at National Cyber Park

The Cyber Innovation Center saw the culmination of six years worth of effort come to fruition Tuesday with news that major technology company CSC will move into the National Cyber Research Park.

Over the next four years, CSC, a global leader in next-generation information technology services and solutions, will bring 800 jobs to the research park — preventing graduates with technology degrees leaving and creating a demand from local universities to fill a workforce. They will occupy a new, 116,000 square foot building located adjacent to the CIC.

CIC leadership is excited to see their discipline and investment from the state and local leadership bear fruit.

“This is big enough that it will create a whole new sector in the local economy that didn’t exist. Without the investment from the locals and the state, we wouldn’t have this opportunity. It is the convergence of a long term vision and plan that goes back to six years with the creation of academic outreach programs that will be very beneficial to this company,” said Craig Spohn, CIC President.

The new location by CSC is the creation of a new IT sector within NWLA’s economy.

“This is diversification of our local economy. These are true, high tech jobs for the future. For 800 of them, with how big our community is, that’s moving the needle,” said G.B. Cazes, CIC Vice President.

The new, $29-million building will be funded by the state of Louisiana and owned by Bossier City and Bossier Parish. CSC will receive a combined $10 million from Bossier City and Bossier Parish for data center infrastructure associated with the new building. Bossier City will also provide the land at no cost and waive property taxes for CSC.

The announcement was made during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret, Bossier City and Bossier Parish leaders, and CSC executive Dave Zolet were on hand to welcome CSC.

“We invested in the Cyber Innovation Center to attract these type of opportunities to our community. 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,” said Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker.

Bill Altimus, Bossier Parish Administrator, said, “This is a defining moment for our community. 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.”

Spohn acknowledged their strong faith in CIC’s mission.

“We can’t understate the commitment from the local government. They have stayed the course and that’s uncommon,” he said.

U.S. Representative John Fleming said he met with CSC in Washington about their potential interest in locating in the research park and gave Spohn credit for helping them see the promise of Bossier City.

“CSC saw just how open and willing Louisiana, specifically Bossier Parish and Bossier City, is to make this a success. This could be a huge transition for Louisiana because this now requires highly trained, highly educated people who will be well paid. It creates a higher education need and we have the institutions who can get onboard,” said Fleming.

The CIC was chosen from 134 site locations around the country. Bossier was picked due to a ready facility, supportive and dedicated government officials, a connection to Barksdale Air Force Base, and competitive incentives.

“We had a facility that could house them immediately and the state and local government put together a very aggressive package. Incentives are a big deal,” said Cazes. “They could start quickly and they were impressed with how the universities are working together and the cooperation among us and the parish and city.”

CSC will become the premier IT employer in the region and create a strong demand for future graduates with technology-related degrees. CSC will lean on local universities to help provide the majority of their workforce.

The state of Louisiana will invest $14 million over 10 years in local universities and colleges to develop a next-generation IT workforce. Louisiana Tech is expected to be the anchor for the funding.

“The big win, locally, is that this is what we all set out to do. Our kids don’t have to leave to find jobs,” said Cazes. “We get emails from people all the time who have left and now they can come home.”

Students with computer science, cyber engineering, computer information systems and cyber information technology degrees will have an opportunity for high-tech career opportunities that provide real advancement opportunities.

“There are 23 colleges and universities within 100 miles of here, so they will have the pick of the litter,” noted Cazes.

To further meet CSC’s needs, the state of Louisiana will reimburse $9.6 million for recruitment, relocation and training as well. CSC will work in partnership with the state’s LED FastStart® program to develop targeted training and recruiting activities. CSC also recognizes that Barksdale Air Force Base also provides an opportunity for CSC to hire and re-train military veterans.

Cazes said the CIC has had wins in the past, but this is a splash they had always knew would come.

“This will put the cyber park on the map. Because they’re so partner focused, you’re going to have a gravitational pull with those companies,” he said. “When the Air Force moved out last April, we were holding two floors for a big high value tenant, so we’re back to capacity now.”

The Cyber Innovation Center and National Cyber Research Park were established in 2007 by investments from the local governments of Bossier Parish and Bossier City along with the State of Louisiana in order to diversify northwest Louisiana’s economy and to create a knowledge-based workforce by promoting research, education, and technological innovation.

Since its inception, the ClC has created an academic outreach and workforce development program that has become a catalyst for cultivating a regional cyber workforce while also building a national model for cyber education.