Infosys plans to hire 3,000 workers for its facility in Indianapolis by the end of 2023. That's a lot—by almost any standard.
Yet Ravi Kumar, president and chief operating officer of the India-based technology company, told reporters he's not worried about finding qualified employees in Indianapolis.
“What we need is good schools and colleges,” Kumar said, noting that Infosys already has a pact with Purdue University and is planning other agreements with more area colleges. “That was a big draw for us."
But Kumar stressed that Infosys is looking for a lot more than techies and scientists.
“These jobs are not just about STEM," or science, technology, engineering and math, Kumar told a horde of reporters at a Thursday press conference to announce the firm’s planned development on the west side of Indianapolis.
“We’re not just hiring tech experts and computer programmers," Kumar said. "A lot of our designers, for instance, come from a liberal arts background. We’re hiring people with a lot of different backgrounds.”
Kumar cited Indiana’s colleges and universities as the No. 1 reason Infosys has expanded its initial plans from hiring 2,000 employees here to hiring 3,000.
Kumar stressed that Infosys has systems in place to train people with a good educational foundation to do whatever work the company needs them to do.
“We will build the skills of the digital future with a relentless focus on education and learning,” Kumar said, surrounded by workers the company has already hired in Indiana. “There’s no better place than Indiana to train future workers.”
Infosys is currently working out of what appears to be cramped quarters on two floors of the OneAmerica Tower downtown. But on Thursday, it announced that it plans to build a $245 million campus—which will include a U.S. education and training center—at the site of the former Indianapolis International Airport terminal.
Infosys plans to spend $35 million in the near term to transform a 70-acre parcel on airport property. The company will continue to work out of the OneAmerica space for some time, but company officials said that, eventually, all operations in Indianapolis will be moved to the new campus.
Infosys already has about 150 Indianapolis workers on staff but is about to accelerate that hiring.
“We’re already hiring," Kumar said. "The doors are open.”
Infosys’ facility here is one of four it is planning for the U.S. The others are planned for North Carolina, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Infosys officials explained to IBJ on Thursday that each of the company’s four U.S. facilities differs based on the clients it serves.
For instance, Infosys’ Indianapolis headquarters already has workers stationed at Eli Lilly & Co. and is using technology to engineer solutions for that company and others, including Cummins Inc., an Indiana firm that makes diesel engines.
But the major factor that will differentiate the Indianapolis campus from Infosys' other three U.S. facilities will be the training center—the only one currently planned for the United States.
All Infosys employees are required to go through multi-week training (usually eight to 12 weeks) upon being hired. Most training for U.S. workers will take place in Indianapolis. Infosys employees also are subject to periodic re-training.
In addition, Infosys will host training seminars and classes—ranging from a couple of days to multiple weeks—for its various clients, and much of that will happen in Infosys’ new Indianapolis center.
“These are force multiplier jobs,” Gov. Eric Holcomb told reporters Thursday.
Infosys has a huge training campus in Mysore, India, and several sources said the one in Indianapolis will be a smaller version of that—but still quite sizable. One local official who has visited Infosys’ Mysore venue compared it to the size of the Ball State University campus, with more than 15,000 people working and training there. That facility will continue to be the company’s primary global training facility.
Kumar said Thursday that the initial construction in Indianapolis will be a 125,000-square-foot education center and 250-person residential facility on the site of the old airport terminal at the intersection of Sam Jones Expressway and South High School Road. The company will have the option to double its footprint in the future.
The ultimate project, to be developed in phases over the next several years, is expected to be a 141-acre campus with 786,000 square feet of facilities.
“To have a company invest this much here opens up lots of opportunities in terms of getting Indiana [college] grads real exposure to tech skills jobs,” said Mike Langellier, CEO of locally based state tech advocacy group TechPoint.
Langellier said the Infosys training program will get local workers exposure to cutting-edge developments in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Langellier, who has visited Infosys’ massive training facility in India, emphasized that the company isn’t simply looking to come in and pluck qualified workers from the local workforce.
“They are building and developing their own [talent],” Langellier said. “To be able to skill up employees with know-how here, that creates a lot of opportunities not only for Infosys but this entire community.”
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger is confident the Infosys facility and the training center in particular will ignite growth in the city’s and state’s tech sector.
“This will be a magnet for us,” Schellinger said Thursday. “There will be a line waiting to get into this training center.
“All these IT jobs that are coming here … these companies are telling us they’re coming because of the quality of our colleges, because their clients are based here and because of our cost of living,” he added. “This is an affirmation of that.”