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Global IT firm to bring 300 jobs to Knoxville

Gov. Bill Lee made the announcement Friday. CGI will spend $27 million in the operation.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A global IT and business consulting firm is bringing 300 jobs over the next five years to Knoxville.

Gov. Bill Lee made the announcement Friday morning.

"It strengthens Knoxville's reputation as a leader in technology and business," Lee said Friday.

CGI will create an information technology delivery center here. It's a $27 million investment, the company said.

This is CGI's eighth IT delivery and support center in the U.S.

"This is such a happy day," Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said.

Alison Hallett, vice president of CGI's U.S. marketing communications, said the average starting salary for an "early career" professional in Knoxville will be $60,000 annually.

Hallett said a permanent location for the firm hasn't been set yet but it's looking at potential office space in or near downtown.

Molly Hair, public information officer for the state's Economic and Community Development Department, said details weren't available Friday on what incentives CGI is getting to come to Knoxville. Those details are expected to be available to the public in the coming weeks after they're finalized.

As part of the development the 45-year-old firm will partner with the University of Tennessee, said David L. Henderson, CGI president of U.S. commercial and state government operations.

According to the state, CGI will seek job candidates with software development, business analytics and other in-demand technology skills.

Henderson said the company already has begun looking for potential job candidates.

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Henderson said Knoxville offered a talented employment pool and "a strong culture of innovation within the Knoxville area and the state of Tennessee."

The new CGI development will help clients access U.S.-based IT services, support and solutions.

As a core element of its business strategy, CGI offers IT delivery options to government and commercial industry clients.

CGI has more than 13,000 U.S. employees. Worldwide it has 76,000 "members," Henderson said.

Kincannon, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman took part in the announcement.

State Economic Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe also took part in the virtual announcement.

Local government staff have been working with the firm to find it temporary headquarters. Ultimately, it could move to its own location.   

"We expect to announce the location of our temporary facility soon while we plan for the permanent location," Hallett said.

The average starting salary for an early career professional in Knoxville will be $60,000 annually.

Jacobs said he was "thrilled" by the announcement and pledged to Henderson he wouldn't be disappointed in the decision.

Henderson said CGI searched two years before picking Knoxville for its new center.

Dave Miller of the Knoxville Chamber said CGI would help the area grow even more and expand its economic base.

Plowman said CGI and UT can have a mutually beneficial partnership that creates a better-prepared workforce with the skills necessary to serve in the IT profession. UT faculty also will work with CGI on "large-scale research and innovation."

The Haslam College of Business and Tickle College of Engineering are among the specialty areas that can serve as a resource, she said. Students at those schools, in turn, will have a chance to learn and prepare for careers in data fields through working with CGI.

Plowman said the new CGI center will also help retain talented students interested in technical careers who might otherwise move elsewhere for employment.