Governor Raimondo

Globally Relevant in PVD

5 Signs That Infosys’ Halo Effect Is at Work in Rhode Island

 

When Ravi Kumar, president of Infosys, recently spoke at GPCC’s Economic Outlook Luncheon, he shared the company’s progress in creating a design hub and hiring hundreds in Rhode Island. The direct impact of what Infosys is doing in the state is clear: creating jobs for Rhode Islanders. It’s also important to consider the indirect results—or halo effect—of bringing new businesses to our state:

 

1.      Jobs beget jobs. The types of tech service jobs that Infosys is hiring for in RI normally have an impact of four to five jobs downstream. That is because the new hires are often people just entering the job market, which means they will need housing and have other economic needs that didn’t exist before. And because these are relatively high-paying positions for entry-level workers—he told us the ballpark is $60,000, plus a signing bonus and year-end incentives—consumerism is higher than it would be for lower-paying jobs.

 

2.      A workforce that is trained to succeed. When Infosys made the announcement last year that it would hire 10,000 tech workers in the United States, Ravi knew there wasn’t enough tech talent in the market to reach that number. So the company went back to its roots—its foundation of education and learning. It had faced a similar dearth of tech talent in India, where for two decades it hired talent that was in school or newly graduated and then ran a finishing school to make them production-ready for tech work. Now in the United States, Infosys is following a similar model, taking talent from schools and putting them through several months of training to prepare them for production work in tech services. Ravi believes that every corporation should run an eight- to 12-week apprentice program. The U.S. has largely forgotten apprentice programs, he says, but Infosys believes that talent has to be trained or created, not traded.

 

3.      More fruitful partnerships with academia. To bridge tech-talent skills in the U.S., Infosys has signed up with schools around the country, including RISD. Through this process, it has discovered the untapped potential of the community college ecosystem. Around 50 percent of students in the U.S. are enrolled in community colleges, and yet very few corporations are focused on them, said Ravi. To build a model to create a bridge for Rhode Island’s community college students to go for their four-year degree as they work with Infosys, Infosys is now in active conversation with CCRI. And the company has already hired 25 community college students and has been extremely pleased with the results. Ravi believes this program is going to be a game-changer that can be replicated nationally for community colleges.

 

4.      Employees ready for positions in globally relevant fields. In the last two decades, tech services has moved from a client-centric to a global delivery model (work is broken into pieces and sent to offshoring destinations, such as India). That has made it necessary for companies like Infosys to evolve operating and business models along with its clients, and to be able to co-create, co-innovate and be co-located. By building a tech-talent pool in Rhode Island, Infosys is training and employing the state’s residents in globally relevant fields in which their expertise will serve them both today and tomorrow.

 

5.      Impacting local communities. In its Rhode Island operations, Infosys is committed to sourcing locally—it has signed off on the Supply RI program, a statewide initiative to connect local suppliers with Rhode Island businesses. It also wants to have a positive impact on the local communities at large by investing in K-12 teachers and students. Last May, for example, the Infosys Foundation USA’s Pathfinders initiative at Indiana University-Bloomington funded training for 600 teachers from across the U.S. As it kicks off operations in Rhode Island, Infosys plans to open up the foundation to make a similarly tremendous impact on local communities.

 

Laurie White is president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. Read her other Rhode Island Inno contributions here.

Business Optimism All Around Us

Survey Results: 65 Percent of Local Business Leaders Say R.I. Economy Will Be in Better Shape in Next 12 Months

What’s the momentum behind Rhode Island’s local economy really like? To find out, we asked the more than 250 prominent business and civic leaders who attended our 18th annual Economic Outlook Breakfast, cohosted with Santander Bank on Monday.

After sharing his thoughts on the tremendous potential of Rhode Island’s economy, Mike Lee, managing director of Santander Commercial Banking, facilitated a real-time survey in which the attendees answered questions about the state of the local and national economy and the key issues facing their companies. We even got in a question about the Red Sox. Joining Mike to discuss regional business issues were Kelly Coates, president and chief operating officer for Carpionato Group; Maureen Boudreau, director of healthcare technology for Johnson & Johnson; and James Karam, president and founder of First Bristol Corporation. 

Net-net, optimism about Providence and Rhode Island was the dominant theme.

What grabbed my attention was that:

Nearly 54 percent of you believe that the U.S. economy will be in better shape over the next 12 months, while 28 percent believe it will stay about the same. 

Seventy-one percent of you believe your business is in better shape this year than last year, while 8 percent said it is in worse shape today.

Forty-two percent of you cited revenue and sales growth as the most challenging issues your businesses expect to face in the next year, while 28 percent noted talent shortage, 10 percent selected regulatory requirements and seven percent chose managing “big data” and cybersecurity. 

Nearly 55 percent of you said that you will be hiring over the next year. 

Forty percent of you indicated you will be hiring because current staffing levels cannot meet demand, while 26 percent of you selected projected sales growth, and another 25 percent noted you would be hiring because you need skills not possessed by your current staff. 

When asked about your current workforce, you cited team building and group dynamics at 54 percent and technology skills at 39 percent as the top two areas that need development.  

Oh, and last but not least: 55 percent said the Red Sox will not win the World Series. I’m sure there are some Yankees fans smiling at this!


My key takeaways from this breakfast? As confidence in the economy grows and Rhode Island secures more wins like Infosys and Johnson & Johnson, it’s important that the business and civic leaders represented at the breakfast this week continue to engage in meaningful conversations about Rhode Island. Together, we must stay focused on helping all Rhode Island companies thrive so that we maintain a competitive and attractive business climate for the long-term.

To hear more about what Rhode Island’s business leaders have to say about the state, read our blog post about the Providence: An Economic Recovery Story event we also hosted earlier this month. 

More Shovels In The Ground in #PVD

Innovation districts are emerging in the downtowns and midtowns
of cities like Atlanta, Cambridge, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, where advanced research universities, medical complexes, and clusters of tech and creative firms are sparking business expansion as well as residential and commercial growth.  

Now, add Providence to the mix. 

With this week's groundbreaking on the former Route 195 land, business, academic and government leaders are partnering with Wexford Science and Technology to create a grand Innovation Center that will be at forefront of discovery.

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Wexford CEO Jim Berens emphasized that the $88 million facility will draw the best minds in research, design and commercialization. "We are excited that our work in Providence will become more visible as we begin vertical construction of the first Innovation Building, anchored by Brown University, the Cambridge Innovation Center and Johnson and Johnson. This represents another step forward in the development of a dynamic Knowledge Community that brings together intellectual capital, innovation and infrastructure to create a center of gravity and congregation that can give a sense of place to the growing innovation and entrepreneurial activities taking place in Providence and across Rhode Island."

In addition to the 66,000 square feet in the Innovation Complex, CIC also is planning to locate an 8,000-square-foot Innovation Hall and Venture Cafe-dedicated civic spaces that are modeled after CIC's highly successful District Hall in the Seaport District of Boston, where the innovation community can gather and exchange ideas.

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce has been working for many years to champion an environment in Rhode Island that leverages our amazing assets, including our comprehensive talent base, our world class universities, colleges and hospitals and our innovative businesses. We are confident that progress is accelerating at a rapid pace now.

"Wexford's project has the potential to advance our state's economy in significant ways -- fostering innovation, spurring growth, and building opportunity for all Rhode Islanders," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "This project will become the catalytic centerpiece of our revitalized I-195 Innovation & Design District. It represents the culmination of the very hard work of many including our visionary Governor, Gina Raimondo; leaders at the I-195 Commission and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation; the teams at Wexford Science & Technology, Ventas, CIC, Brown University, and Johnson & Johnson; and state, city, and federal elected leaders. I congratulate these partners on reaching this critical milestone."

Keep the announcements coming!

FinTech Firm eMoney Now Sourcing Providence Talent

FinTech firm eMoney is expanding into Providence. The wealth management technology company is opening a new office at 100 Westminster Street, with positions already being filled for the site. 

Located in a 20-story commercial building in the Financial District, the office’s downtown views paired with nearly 7,000 square feet of rented space, provide an atmosphere that is conducive to fostering the collaboration and innovation that eMoney is known for both as an employer and as a leading provider of scalable wealth management technology. 

The new office location stems from the firm’s rapid growth over the last few years and desire to explore a new talent market in the Northeast. 

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“This is just the beginning of our journey in Rhode Island,” said Ed O’Brien, CEO of eMoney. “We’re excited to get the office up and running, becoming an integral part of the Providence community and tapping its extensive network of talent. We’re proud to expand our eMoney team so we can continue to innovate and meet the needs of our clients.”

As previously announced by Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation in March, eMoney is committed to bringing 100 full-time jobs to the state by 2020. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce stands ready to assist the firm with its hiring needs.

“We welcome eMoney to their new Providence office,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “With workforce training and economic development as top priorities, we have added 14,000 jobs since taking office, and regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Additions to the state like eMoney show Rhode Island is on the move.”

eMoney already has 10 employees set to work in the Providence office by mid-August, and extensive recruiting efforts are underway to fill open roles in software development, user interface and experience design, software testing and quality engineering, and product management, among others.

“Providence continues to demonstrate that it has the talent, quality of life, and momentum that businesses are looking for,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “I’m excited to welcome a fast-growing company like eMoney Advisor to the capital city and wish them success in the years to come.”

eMoney has two other office locations in the U.S. Its corporate headquarters located just outside of Philadelphia in Radnor, Pa., has more than 400 employees on-site serving all areas of the business, including software development, financial planning, security and data services, sales, client engagement, marketing, finance, and human resources, among others. The firm’s West Coast office located in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Ca., is home to approximately 60 employees who work in client engagement, sales and financial planning.

To learn more about eMoney’s open positions in Providence, visit here.

 

Software enabled manufacturing start-ups are dominating

The business environment for entrepreneurial-minded manufacturers is getting a lot of buzz. An explosion of digital tools and services has rocked the manufacturing realm, drawing in computer-assisted design and 3D printing equipment, open-source operating systems and the Internet of Things (IoT). 


A recent article in HBR by Mark Muro of Brookings puts it in perspective:  Innovative “tools, resources, and intermediaries are allowing a new generation of serious entrepreneurs to begin to bridge the worlds of hacker space and industry. As a result, software-enabled manufacturing start-ups are poised to have a large economic impact.”  So, how does Rhode Islander’s famed maker-movement plug into this energy? Engaging young, creative minds is the answer.

 

Governor Raimondo’s Rhode Island Promise Scholarship Program is officially rolling out this academic year, Fall 2017. For prospective students to qualify for RI Promise, they must have just graduated from high school or recently obtained a GED, and they would be eligible for two years at CCRI tuition free.  CCRI is hosting enrollment days on August 10th and 17th – a chance for students to ask questions and enroll for this semester. Rhode Island is the fourth state in the country to offer tuition-free community college, an essential credential for the evolving workforce--- particularly in manufacturing.

 

Rhode Island's efforts to spur workforce development don’t stop there.  Along with being the first state to offer computer science to every child in every public school, Rhode Island partners its high schools and community colleges with local manufacturers to give students industry-specific knowledge, workplace tours, apprenticeships and internships.  Rhode Island also offers student-loan assistance to graduates pursuing a STEM or design career.

 

Looking for a place to start and grow your manufacturing business? Providence's deep roots in manufacturing innovation must be seriously examined. Would you like to learn  more?
 
 

"RI's Promise" Is A Keeper

As is well known, our key focus at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is economic development on behalf of business. And today we wanted to step out and make a few comments publicly about what’s now a universal issue facing general business and entrepreneurs everywhere. And that’s the demand for talent.

America’s business community is feeling optimistic. They’re in an expansion mode. They’re hiring. They’re carefully calibrating what they need to do and where they need to be to produce the most profitable outcomes.

Likewise, the Rhode Island business community is feeling optimistic about the future, and they’re hiring. Our local entrepreneurial environment has never been stronger, particularly due to the high concentration of elite colleges and universities in the area. Yet, the need for even more talent remains intense.

When talking about issues, I like to come at it from a different angle. I point to the “best practice economic development literature” for policy guidance. I think that’s important because it sets context. Area Development and Chamber Executive are two of the most helpful.

Area Development Magazine -- each year in the first quarter -- ranks the policy issues of most importance to American business when it comes to site selection and business facilities planning. In other words: jobs, opportunity, employment, growth. The number one and number two issues. What are they? Quality infrastructure and quality workforce.

American Chamber of Commerce Executives tells us what chambers and business leaders all across this country and internationally are actually doing to drive economic performance. ACCE reports that in 2016, for the first time ever, workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher (36%) outnumber workers with a high school diploma or less (34%).  The face of the workforce is changing.  Everyone knows it.

I bring this up because it shows the degree to which this is an issue nationwide and as an object lesson for RI that competitor states are going at it full bore. Our businesses --- from start-up through mid-cap and Fortune 100 --- are competing with businesses in other communities that are getting their talent pipeline in order real fast.

We want to say very clearly that we support Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Rhode Island's Promise proposal to make us a national leader in college affordability and college completion. This emphasis on talent development is squarely in line with the Chamber’s views on how to cultivate a stronger business climate. Rhode Island employers are creating jobs, and we want those jobs to go to Rhode Island kids.

We are particularly impressed with the central themes of Rhode Island's Promise: reducing the loan debt burden on students and families; improving on-time graduation for students; driving desirable enrollment at Rhode Island College, the Community College of Rhode Island and the University of Rhode Island; and increasing the concentration of our college educated workforce.

We have shared this message in testimony before the House and Senate Finance committees. And we’re teeing it up again today to remind us all to stay focused on the big picture.  We must produce more college graduates. As a nation, we can't afford not to.