General Motors will open a new information technology innovation center in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler and begin hiring what will eventually be 1,000 high-tech employees to staff the new location beginning in April, the company announced Wednesday.
The Chandler center will be the fourth facility GM has opened to bring its IT work in-house. It already has hired more than 1,000 new employees at the three other locations, in Austin, Texas; Roswell, Ga., and Warren, Mich.
Company officials said they chose Chandler because of the pool of talented IT workers and because the state's universities offer a steady stream of new graduates. They also cited the cost of living and quality of life in Arizona.
"Recruiting talented IT professionals is intensely competitive," GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott said in a statement. "To hire the best and the brightest, we need to create employment opportunities that differentiate our company from the competition - location is one such advantage."
The company will house workers in a temporary center until its new facility opens early next year. It's expected to be fully staffed in five years.
Matthew Benson, spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer, said GM's $21 million capital investment is a big win for the state because competition was fierce for the jobs. There was rampant speculation that GM was considering California's Silicon Valley and other locations around the nation.
"From our perspective it's huge, because of all the places they could have chosen to build, they're building here," Benson said.
The Arizona Commerce Authority is providing incentives to GM, including job training funds and money from the ACA's deal closing fund, Benson said.
The company expects to staff the four innovation centers with roughly 10,000 people in the next three to five years, Mott said in an interview with The Associated Press. It has already hired 3,000 people from Hewlett-Packard and moved 1,500 of its current information technology workforce to the centers. It plans another 4,000 hires for the four innovation centers in the near future, with future hires being the total to around 10,000.
Mott said the location of the four centers is extremely important because they're all in areas rich with technology talent. Combined, they're close to over half of the top computer science and technology universities in the country. GM expects about 35 percent of its tech workforce to be recent college graduates.
He concedes the competition is stiff now for information technology graduates and experienced professionals, but says GM should be attractive because of the role that IT will play in the company's transformation.
"These are the best IT jobs out there," he said.
The company will open a temporary center in Phoenix while the new facility is being built. It plans to recruit software developers, database administrators, and system analysts. The innovation centers will support all of GM's information technology needs, including Web technologies, dealer and factory systems and new vehicle technology.
AP reporter Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed.