Dignitaries turn dirt as they take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for CGI Group Inc.’s onshore delivery center Wednesday in Belton.
George Schindler, president of CGI Group Inc., shakes hands with Gov. Rick Perry during a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday for CGI’s new facility in the Belton Business Park.

By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON — Gov. Rick Perry helped break ground Wednesday on the campus of Texas’ new large employer, CGI Group Inc.

“(Central Texas) is going to be a powerful place to be for the future generations, and Belton is right in the middle of it,” said Perry, speaking at CGI’s future Belton Business Park location to a crowd of hundreds.

The company pledged to bring at least 350 tech jobs to the area by 2016, hiring 400 people.

Company executives and local officials expect CGI’s onshore delivery center will bring $61 million annually in overall economic impact.

Several stakeholders have been involved in luring CGI to the area, including the Belton Economic Development Corporation, the city of Belton, Bell County commissioners and Perry. The governor’s office specifically gave CGI $1.8 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to build its 40,000-square-foot, $7 million facility.

Belton and Bell County agreed to a five-year property tax abatement for CGI.

The facility will provide software development, management and information technology jobs in support of its numerous contracts with federal, state and local governments. It also supports health care companies.

“This new facility is a major milestone in the solid partnership between Belton, the state of Texas and CGI,” said Belton Mayor Jim Covington. “This is the culmination of hard work from so many across the Central Texas region, and we are excited to see it moving forward.”

Texas Workforce Commission incoming chairman Andres Alcantar presented a $180,924 grant to CGI from the Texas Skills Development Fund.

CGI’s clients include several Texas municipal governments, including Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. The company also contracts with Austin Energy, the Texas comptroller of public accounts and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The 36-year-old company has offices in 16 countries and employs more than 31,000 worldwide, CGI president George Schindler said.

The Belton facility will be CGI’s third delivery center in the U.S. In choosing Belton, Schindler said the company analyzed the area’s access to talent, quality of life and government partnership.

“We’re willing to make an investment when a community makes an investment in us,” Schindler said. “Then everyone has a stake in its success.”

CGI plans to draw its workforce from veterans, military spouses and graduates of local universities.

The company has a temporary office in Temple with 55 employees. The Belton office is expected to be completed in December.