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(This news item is adapted from this UL Lafayette news item.)
The UL Lafayette School of Computing and Informatics received a $1.25 million Louisiana Economic Development grant to support a pipeline of talent to Waitr and other technology employers.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant Friday, 15 March 2019. The money is part of an incentive package from the state to aid Waitr’s growth.
The announcement was made at a block party that celebrated the food delivery service’s new downtown Lafayette headquarters.
The governor and Waitr CEO Chris Meaux also used the event to outline the company’s addition of 200 direct jobs and 227 indirect jobs in Acadiana and the surrounding area.
Waitr's on-demand food delivery connects restaurants to consumers in more than 500 cities nationwide. The company is also helping to create online and mobile software solutions for the restaurant industry, Meaux said.
Those solutions will require the skilled graduates the School of Computing and Informatics trains, added Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president.
“The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is very pleased to continue to play a meaningful role in recruiting and growing high-tech companies that helps economic development and diversification in our region,” Savoie said.
“The University is very appreciative of this grant from LED and the governor’s support that will allow us to strengthen our academic programs, create certification programs, and produce high-quality and well-trained students that have the skills to meet Waitr’s technology needs.”
College of Sciences dean Azmy S. Ackleh noted that the University’s informatics and computer science programs “are a reason tech companies come to the area, why they stay here, and why they are able to expand here.”
In May 2018, CGI announced it planned to add 400 new jobs at its University Research Park location. UL Lafayette graduates make up a large portion of the digital technology company’s Lafayette workforce, Ackleh said.
“Companies like CGI, Waitr and others value the strong knowledge and training that a degree from UL Lafayette provides. This grant from the state will help enhance the well-deserved reputation the School of Computing and Informatics has as an essential factor in the region and state’s growth as a major tech hub.”