Gov. Bobby Jindal today announced that General Electric Co.'s financial services arm GE Capital plans to bring an information technology center to New Orleans. At a press conference in the IP Building downtown, Jindal said the company will locate 300 jobs here, each paying between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. By the time the center is fully staffed in 2015, its payroll will total nearly $30 million.
Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu heralded the plan as a major boon to the city and the state, not only because of the new jobs, but because GE in chose the New Orleans over dozens of other locations competing for the tech center (probably in no small part because of the state's very, very generous tech incentives).
"I promised the people of Louisiana that we'd see a new Louisiana," Jindal said. "We are creating a new state ... We're seeing a city rise to a new era."
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Jindal also used the opportunity to promote his major policy agenda for his second term: education (choose your loaded term: reform/transformation/privatization).
"GE is exactly the kind of company we want in Louisiana," he said, but in order to attract more companies like GE, the state needs to commit to (choose: improving or experimenting with) its educational system. "That's why we've proposed a comprehensive plan to give parents more choice."
He said the state has made a 10-year commitment to fund a "special software development curriculum" in New Orleans.
GE Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brackett Denniston III said today's announcement was part of GE's 2009 promise to create 13,000 jobs in the United States, nearly half as many as it cut here between 2005 and 2010. (The company does seem fond of making these big, public announcements.) Denniston called GE "a 130-year-old company committed to America and what's best in America."