By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday a $1.8 million investment through the Texas Enterprise Fund for a new onshore delivery center in Belton for CGI Group Inc.
"What an outstanding day for Belton, as we welcome CGI's decision to bring 350 jobs to our community of 20,000 people," said Belton Mayor Jim Covington. "Let me extend my deep appreciation to the numerous partnerships and hard work of many across the Central Texas region that helped bring this dream to reality."
CGI Group, a Canadian-based information technology management and business process services company, employs more than 31,000 workers in 125 offices in 16 countries.
The Belton center, which is expected to create $7 million in capital investments, will "support CGI clients' needs for software development, maintenance and testing, as well as network engineering, design and data management support," according to a news release on the governor's announcement.
"For more than 25 years in the state of Texas, CGI has been a trusted IT partner to public sector clients and some of the world's largest corporation. We are proud to extend this partnership now with the city of Belton," said George Schindler, president of CGI U.S. "With a focus on recruiting veterans and military family members, this center will offer high-quality, onshore IT talents to our clients while providing good jobs to those that have served our nation so proudly."
The IT company plans to partner with Texas A&M University-Central Texas, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Temple College to recruit skilled local talent, according to the release.
"We're thrilled here," said Stephanie O'Banion, president and CEO of the Belton Chamber of Commerce. "I know the city and the Belton Economic Development Corporation have been working diligently at this project."
Cynthia Hernandez, executive director for the economic development corporation, said the city and the corporation still had to sign off on the deal. The Belton City Council will consider the matter at its meeting tonight.
"Obviously, we're very excited. It's a great opportunity for Belton," said Hernandez. "We're hoping (tonight) that we'll have lots of celebrating."
In his announcement, Perry said CGI's move to Belton will strengthen the Central Texas economy — a view shared by state Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, who represents Belton.
"I am glad that CGI was able to learn what I have known for a long time, which is Bell County is a great place to work and live," said Sheffield. "I look forward to continuing to work with them for the betterment of the region."
The Texas Legislature created the Texas Enterprise Fund in 2003 to help Texas businesses grow and create jobs.
The fund has invested more than $439 million, which led to 59,000 new jobs and more than $14 billion in capital investment in the state, according the release from the governor's office. Fund projects must be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.