General Motors Co. and the state announced Monday that GM will create 2,000 new jobs in Michigan, beginning with up to 1,500 at a new information technology innovation center in Warren.
It's unclear where GM would add the other 500 jobs, but the state says the innovation center is the first of three projects the company will announce.
GM will invest $300 million combined for the three. The state said GM plans no major investment spending on the information technology center; it will be housed in an existing building undergoing renovation on the Warren Tech Center campus.
The center will hire 1,500 new employees within four years and will add to information technology employment already in Warren, Randy Mott, GM's vice president of information technology and chief information officer, said in a Friday interview.
Thirty percent or more of those 1,500 hires could be recent college graduates, as GM plans a large recruiting initiative with southeastern Michigan colleges and universities, Mott said. He expects some people who left Michigan for other jobs will return for the new opportunities.
"It's an exciting step, and it's a key element of what we're trying to do to drive innovation and new capabilities for our businesses," said Mott, who joined GM earlier this year after serving as chief information officer for Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
GM is in the midst of a major overhaul of its information technology organization that includes hiring fewer than 10,000 workers as it in-sources the majority of its information technology work. Bringing more information technology workers into GM will allow the company to work more on innovative software solutions, Mott has said.
Today, about 10 percent of information technology operations are handled within GM by about 1,500 workers globally, including 900 to 1,000 in Detroit and Warren.
The remaining 90 percent is handled by about 10,000 people outside the company, and Mott wants to flip those percentages over the next three to five years.
Snyder 'fired up'
Last month, the automaker announced it had opened an innovation center in Austin, Texas, where it plans to hire up to 500. The company plans to open two more information technology innovation centers in addition to Austin and Warren. Mott said Friday that GM isn't ready to announce those locations yet.
GM has already begun to hire for the Warren site, Mott said, and some jobs are posted at careers.gm.com/itjobs.
The additional jobs are significant for Michigan, said Gov. Rick Snyder.
"(GM has decided) Michigan's the place to be to innovate, and to do it on a significant scale of 1,500 jobs is very exciting," Snyder said in a Friday interview. "I'm fired up by this."
Snyder said GM's information technology center will help attract and retain young professionals in technology jobs in Michigan.
"The auto industry is very high-tech," he said. "I think that's the message we still need to get … out to people."
Information technology jobs in Michigan have been growing. But some companies have found that filling jobs is difficult, given the competition across the country.
Global tax breaks awarded
Last month, GM received approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund that amends GM's global retention tax credit to include another 3,000 jobs. The global credit, which originated in June 2009, gives state tax breaks to GM that are worth more than $1 billion over 20 years.
"We're very pleased that General Motors is continuing its investment in the state of Michigan," said Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. "We view it as a strong indication that Michigan has the kind of resources it takes for GM to be successful."
GM's global retention tax break covered 17 facilities. It later was amended to include GM's Renaissance Center headquarters in Detroit and battery and vehicle engineering and development at the Warren Tech Center.
The Michigan Strategic Fund also last month approved amendments to GM's global tax breaks, including expanding the maximum credit for the Renaissance Center from $75 million to $125 million; removing an exception for the battery research and testing lab and manufacturing validation center in Warren; and allowing the inclusion of up to 5,000 jobs at Warren Tech Center. The changes were amended back to Jan. 1, 2011, according to a memo from the MEDC.
GM's information technology transformation also includes reducing GM's 23 data centers across the globe to two, both of which will be in Michigan.
The company already is spending $130 million on a data center at the Warren Tech Center to house data servers, laboratories and the tech center's information technology engineering operations. In May 2011, GM received a $10 million state tax incentive to redevelop 30 acres at the Warren Tech Center for that new facility. At the time, GM had said that project would create about 25 jobs.