COLUMBIA — Job hunters have their eyes on IBM.
Following Monday's announcement that IBM will open a service delivery center in Columbia, a division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development set up a website for potential applicants to sign up for updates about the jobs.
After two days, 1,460 people have registered to receive information on the jobs, the department reported Wednesday.
The service delivery center is expected to employ up to 800 IT professionals by 2012. Employees could receive an average annual pay of $55,000, according to a statement issued by Regional Economic Development Inc., a non-profit organization that was instrumental in bringing IBM to Columbia.
IBM requested assistance from the state and local government in hiring the initial employees as part of the incentive package that attracted the company to open shop in the city.
Keener Tippin, Communications Coordinator for the Department of Economic Development, said the registration is a first step in the hiring process.
“IBM will announce more details on the jobs between now and July,” Tippin said.
Visitors to the Web page, which also has links to the official IBM website, are required to register their names, location and contacts.
IBM plans to recruit 100 employees by November when the service center is expected to open, according to Tim Shaughnessy, the company’s senior vice president for Global Technology Services.
Bruce McConnel of IBM’s media relations office said in an interview Wednesday the company will give details about job descriptions and the qualification requirements in follow-up announcements.
McConnel said the new employees will be involved in providing server systems support, data security services and the maintenance and monitoring of computer hardware and software systems.
The Columbia service center will be the third such IBM facility to open in 18 months. Similar ones opened in Dubuque, Iowa, and Lansing, Michigan.
The Dubuque Center was expected to generate up to 1,300 jobs by the end of this year. An announcement on IBM’s Web site shows an advertisement for about 86 different types of jobs that are still open at the Dubuque center.
In addition to having one to two years of experience, applicants for those jobs are supposed to have a high school diploma, college diploma or an associate degree in information technology, depending on the position.
“The Columbia center will be similar to the one in Dubuque in terms of services offered, but the initial job openings may differ since the Columbia operation is just starting,” said McConnel.
The state, county and city governments created a raft of incentives for IBM valued at $31 million in various tax exemptions to lure the company to Columbia, resulting in a hot contest that saw Columbia beat “dozens” of other competitors, Shaughnessy said.
However, IBM is expected to pump millions into the local economy by way of new tax revenues and a payroll bill expected to hit $44 million by 2012.
To sign up for information about the IBM jobs, visit https://itjobs.mo.gov/.