An IT company from India is bringing 100 jobs to P.E.I.
In an interview from India Friday morning, Premier Robert Ghiz told CBC News MphasiS would grow to create about 300 jobs by 2014.
"This is good news announcement for Prince Edward Island and hopefully we will see them become a long-term tenant," said Ghiz.
MphasiS employs about 40,000 people, servicing insurance and banking sectors. This would be their first branch office in North America. Ghiz said the company was attracted by P.E.I.'s proximity to financial centres in New York and Toronto.
Ghiz expects MphasiS will establish initially in Charlottetown's Atlantic Technology Centre and move into its own purpose-built facility as it grows.
"To my knowledge, it's the biggest announcement of an IT company coming to Prince Edward Island ever," said Mike Gillis, innovation director of the Innovation and Technology Association of P.E.I.
Charlottetown Deputy Mayor Stu MacFadyen said the announcement was "good news for the economy, it's good news for the city, it's good news for Prince Edward Island."
While Stephen Myers, opposition innovation critic, said the announcement is good news, he feels the government still has a lot of work to do on rural job creation.
"I still think that we have a major gap in rural areas as far as job creation. We still don't have a strategy for Souris. Government hasn't done anything on the ship-building file to my knowledge."
Job skills an issue
MphasiS was offered tax rebates and labour cost rebates by the province as part of the package that drew it to the Island. The labour rebates would increase as more people were hired.
The announcement was the culmination of six months of negotiation, said Ghiz. The major concern of the company was the availability of skilled labour. Ghiz said he was able to convince the company P.E.I. either had the skilled labour required, or could attract people to come to work on the Island.
"I won't lie to you. It will be a challenge to find that many IT workers in a short period of time," said Gillis.
Holland College will be asked to increase the capacity of IT programs currently being offered, he said.
"The Government of Prince Edward Island has demonstrated significant business partnership focus. I am confident of this being a vibrant center," said MphasiS CEO Ganesh Ayyar in a news release.
The company expects to start hiring in May.