Two years after IBM failed to create the 800 jobs it promised under a 2013 economic development deal with Louisiana, the tech giant appears to have redeemed its presence in Baton Rouge—at least partially—by announcing it exceeded a renegotiated 800-job hiring goal with the Edwards administration, trumpeting an 811-worker count as of June 30.
While Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber commended the achievement as a boon to the local economy, it doesn’t mean IBM is off the hook for its previous shortfall. For starters, the tech firm must reimburse the state $1.4 million for failing to meet the required average number of workers employed in the most recent contract year by 144 workers—a one-time, $10,000-per-job penalty that will likely come in the form of reduced financial incentives.
As for its role in growing the local tech sector, IBM officials continue to tout a long-term economic commitment to Baton Rouge, made through its ongoing tech workforce education initiatives, including an apprenticeship program and P-TECH partnership with Tara High School. But does IBM, no longer facing pressure from the state, still have employment targets? It doesn’t seem so, though the firm continues an upward hiring trend, with officials estimating a couple dozen workers have been hired since July 1.