Gov. Rick Perry highlighted the important role veterans play in Texas’ economy and expanding high-tech community. The governor spoke at the groundbreaking for CGI Group Inc.’s U.S. onshore delivery center in Belton, which received a $1.8 million Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) investment in November 2011 to create 350 new jobs and $7 million in capital investment, and emphasized a focus on recruiting veterans and military family members.

“Texas has always been a bold leader in new and developing technologies, and our steadily-growing high-tech economy and commitment to our returning veterans makes us a natural fit for CGI’s latest expansion,” Gov. Perry said. “The skills our veterans bring back from service are a valuable resource for our communities and our labor force, and CGI’s presence here in Belton and close proximity to Fort Hood will enable many veterans to resume their careers or start new ones, while strengthening and expanding our state’s economy.”

“We believe we found the ‘best of the best’ here in Belton. This facility builds upon CGI’s commitment to Texas, broadening our reach to Belton, Bell County, and the Greater Fort Hood area, meaning more jobs and opportunities in the region – including for our returning veterans and their families,” U.S. president of CGI George Schindler said. “Onshore IT Services Delivery Centers like this one expand our ability to offer high quality, cost-effective services to our clients, on-shore in the U.S., while making it possible for U.S. companies in all industries to keep their IT operations here at home. That’s a win-win-win for our company, our customers, and America.”

CGI will focus on hiring both new college graduates and experienced employees, with an emphasis on helping integrate military applicants back into civilian life. The company is working with Temple College through a Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to ensure applicants have access to the highly technical, specialized IT training necessary to fill these new positions. CGI will also work with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Central Texas College and Texas A&M University Central Texas to recruit skilled local talent.

“The Skills Development Fund delivers customized training solutions that help Texas employers and workers succeed in the marketplace,” TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar said. “This partnership between Temple College and CGI enhances employee skills and is positive for the Belton community. We are pleased to make this investment that creates and upgrades jobs.”

As one of the largest independent information technology firms in the world, CGI recognized its industry’s role in fostering U.S. economic development, and pioneered a strategy to build full-service, IT centers of excellence based in rural America. The new state-of-the-art center in Belton will support CGI clients’ needs for software development, maintenance and testing, as well as network engineering, design and data management support.

Texas is consistently one of the top states for job growth and business climate, and new data from the Texas Workforce Commission and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shows Texas’ jobs market continues to see growth, moving beyond economic recovery and into economic expansion. Additionally, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, five Texas cities rank among the top six cities in the nation for highest rates of job growth between 2004 and 2011.

According to USA Today, Texas has moved past New York as the nation’s second largest economy, and the Wall Street Journal has credited the state’s low taxes and employer-friendly environment with helping make Texas the job creation capital of the nation. Additionally, Texas consistently ranks among the top states for Fortune 500 headquarters.

CGI’s TEF announcement.

Information on Texas’ economy and jobs market.

The Skills Development Fund provides grants to community and technical colleges to provide customized job training programs for businesses who want to train new workers or upgrade the skills of their existing workforce. For more information, please visit http://www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/funds/sdfintro.html.