December 5, 2018

Infosys bows Goodwin offices, pledges new digital era for CT

HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Gov.-elect Ned Lamont listen as Infosys President Ravi Kumar discusses his company's growing Hartford presence.
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Infosys President Ravi Kumar chats with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy before Infosys' Goodwin Square office unveiling on Dec. 5, 2018.

Targeting the region's dense healthcare, insurance and manufacturing clusters, Infosys on Wednesday publicly unveiled its new downtown Hartford offices, with one of the India-based tech giant's top execs pledging to lead a new era of growth in the state's digital economy.

Thus far, Infosys has hired "50-plus" new employees in Hartford, President Ravi Kumar told a crowd of more than 150 people assembled in one of the company's Goodwin Square floors. A group of those employees attended the event Wednesday, wearing blue shirts that read "Charting The New Hartford."

"And there are a huge number in the pipeline, so we're really hoping we can fill these three floors," said Kumar, who was joined on stage by outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his successor, Gov.-elect Ned Lamont. Both men played key roles, along with a group of large area employers and other officials, in wooing Infosys to Connecticut.

Malloy thanked his successor for introducing him to Kumar, calling it "one of the most important introductions" he'd received, and for his work to convince the company to consider Connecticut.

Kumar told the audience that he had at first balked at the idea.

"It was almost a no go for me," Kumar said. "When I say so, I mean I was thinking 'why Connecticut?' "

But he said the state grew on him: "The culture of this place, the fantastic academic ecosystem, the businesses, the kind people of this beautiful state."

"That day I started convincing everybody else in my company that Connecticut is the place to go," he said.

Malloy said that decision shows Connecticut is a desirable place to live and work.

"There's no greater endorsement of that than the investment Ravi and his team have made in the state of Connecticut," the governor said.

Infosys, which relies heavily on outsourced and visa labor, made waves last year when it announced it would hire 10,000 U.S. employees by 2019. It since announced it would establish hubs in Indianapolis, Providence, Arizona and Hartford.

The company has hired approximately 7,000 new U.S. employees over the past 18 months, Kumar said.

Infosys has pledged 1,000 new hires in Hartford in the next four years, for which it would receive up to $12 million in state grants and $2 million in training funds.

"They are going to live here, they're going to spend here and they're going to build their families out here," Kumar said.

Infosys' recent batch of new Hartford workers adds to approximately 700 existing Connecticut employees. As it works to achieve 1,000 local hires, the company has said it will rely on a novel model to mint technology talent in a place previously overlooked by many tech companies: liberal arts universities.

The company is working with Trinity College to develop curriculum to teach tech skills to students there.

While its 7,000 U.S. employees have come "predominantly out of STEM" disciplines and experience, re-trained liberal arts graduates will become a piece of the picture.

"It's a myth that digital capabilities only come from STEM," Kumar said. "Digital capabilities will come from every discipline around."

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