On Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and DXC Technology announced the company will establish a 2,000-job Digital Transformation Center in the heart of New Orleans. DXC bills itself as “the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company.” Contrary to other tech companies that have chosen New Orleans in the decade since Hurricane Katrina, the project will create more permanent direct jobs at one site than any prior economic development deal in Louisiana.
DXC has the ability to alter the perception of New Orleans for people already active in the local tech industry. “There are two things that I think are useful about this project,” explained Chris Reade, President of startup studio LookFar. “A person is more likely to take a job at a small company like mine because there are other, larger employers in the space, of which DXC will be one. It gives people some footing to take that leap to try New Orleans. Secondly, if you’re attending a local university – LSU, Southeastern, UNO, etc. – you’re more likely to go for a Computer Science degree if you know that there are local tech jobs available. This announcement put New Orleans even more on the map in terms of venture capitalists and start-up capital.”
The arrival of DXC Technology, formed in April 2017 by the merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services Division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, cements Louisiana’s position as one of the fastest-growing software and IT destinations in the U.S., following major projects by EA, CenturyLink, IBM, CSRA, CGI, GE Digital and others in the past decade.
In Louisiana, Virginia-based DXC Technology will pursue a highly integrated model of higher-education workforce solutions to prepare talent for its Digital Transformation Center in New Orleans, where next-generation technology services that support clients’ digital transformations will be developed and delivered beginning January 2018. DXC will hire 300 IT and business enterprise professionals during 2018, then ramp up to 2,000 jobs over five years and an annual payroll exceeding $133 million by 2025.
To meet that workforce demand, the State of Louisiana will fund a $25 million higher education initiative to expand the number of degrees awarded annually in computer science, management, and science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM-related studies. The Louisiana State University System, University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System will guide the initiative primarily through four lead campuses: LSU in Baton Rouge, the University of New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, and Delgado Community College in New Orleans. Patterned after prior software and IT initiatives in Louisiana, the DXC Technology project represents the state’s largest single higher-education investment in a private-sector workforce partnership.
Dana Eness, Executive Director of Urban Conservancy + Stay Local! explained that the education investment will have to come with considerable follow-up initiative. “Whether these new job opportunities will result in an increase in students pursuing tech jobs locally will have everything to do with the relationship DXC has or will establish with our institutions of higher ed and high schools and their students before they graduate,” she said. “The job opportunity may exist, but if the pathway leading to that opportunity is not part of the corporate strategy, I wouldn’t expect DXC’s move here to necessarily translate into an increased number of graduates in those fields.”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in a press release, expressed optimism as to how the project will impact the local economy over time. “DXC Technology’s decision to locate its Digital Transformation Center in New Orleans will no doubt propel our city to a new level of prominence and give rise to additional business attraction in New Orleans. As we approach our city’s 300th anniversary, I have no doubt that our best days are ahead of us.”
Image Credit: DXC