COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — A major information technology outsourcing company announced Monday it is moving its U.S. operations hub from New Jersey to Texas and expects to add 10,000 jobs nationwide over the next three years.
Cognizant already employs about 166,000 people worldwide, including 2,000 in Texas. Its global headquarters will remain in Teaneck, N.J., but the company recently purchased a local firm in College Station — home to Texas A&M University — and will ramp up operations here in coming months, said Cognizant President Gordon Coburn.
He said Cognizant expects to hire 10,000 U.S. employees in three years and that at least 750 of those will likely be in Texas.
"These are good jobs for America," said Coburn, who praised Texas' business climate and low cost of living, as well as a deep pool of potential employees at Texas A&M.
He and Gov. Rick Perry appeared at a university therapeutic manufacturing center to also announce Cognizant's three-year, $150,000 grant to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at Texas A&M.
Coburn said that, according to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 70 percent of the nation's high school seniors in 2009 were considered poorer than proficient in math and science, and that a recent IT survey found that 93 percent of employers believe there's a gap "between existing and desired skill levels among their staff."
Perry has led economic missions to several large states with democratic governors, including California, New York, Illinois and Maryland, hoping to convince major job-creating firms to move to Texas. His office also administers the Texas Enterprise Fund, designed to lure businesses to the state, and the Emerging Technology Fund, which invests in innovative companies.
Coburn said Cognizant didn't wait to work out the details before announcing its expansion in Texas, but that the firm expects state incentives will be forthcoming.
Perry has announced he won't seek re-election next year but hasn't ruled out a run for president in 2016, after his 2012 bid fizzled. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is also a possible future GOP White House contender.
Given the opportunity to gloat about Cognizant's Texas expansion on Monday, though, Perry didn't mention Christie by name. Instead he said competition helps all states.
"Every day, when I get up, I'm in competition with 49 other chief executive officers, and I enjoy that," he said, later adding, "America is stronger today because you have governors that understand that concept, that they are in a national and even international competition for jobs."
Perry said the Legislature's promotion of a low-tax, relaxed regulatory climate statewide had "helped win the battle in peoples' minds about where are the best places to live in America."