- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

CARY, N.C. (AP) - Indian information technology services company HCL Technologies said Thursday its American subsidiary will add about 1,200 jobs in North Carolina over the next five years by continuing to prepare not-fully-ready workers to fill the IT jobs.

HCL America, part of the global IT outsourcing company that employs more than 90,000 people worldwide, said it will expand over the next five years in the Raleigh suburb of Cary, where it now employs about 800.

HCL said its expansion would cost about $9 million, but North Carolina officials on Thursday approved a package of grants and other sweeteners worth up to $21 million to the company if it meets hiring and other targets. Local governments were expected to add more money to lure the company away from Texas, Arizona and New York.

North Carolina’s incentives were less than other states and the state is working to build a critical mass of IT companies to compete with other U.S. tech hubs, Gov. Pat McCrory said.

“When you have more of a synergy together of these companies, it brings more talent to North Carolina. It’s very similar to Silicon Valley - when you get some synergy of one industry coming, other people want to come to that area,” McCrory said.

HCL was awarded $5 million in state incentives in 2008 and had a decade to claim the full benefits, state Commerce Department spokeswoman Kim Genardo said.

Rajiv Sodhi, the chief workforce competitiveness officer at HCL Technologies, said 80 percent of its Cary employees are U.S. residents rather than imported from India or other overseas locations. The company picked North Carolina for expansion in part because it could find IT workers more cheaply than other U.S. technology hotspots, he said.

HCL’s business model includes training workers who are a “near-fit” but aren’t completely ready for its jobs, Sodhi said.

“If they have the basic background and basic engineering education, or computer science background and education, then we can train them,” he said.

The jobs are projected to pay an average wage of almost $52,000 a year, about $2,000 more than the local average.

Cary-based workers will work on projects for clients worldwide. HCL’s clients include airlines, logistics companies, and state and federal governments, said Vikram Duvvoori, a corporate vice president. They may hire HCL to engineer chips for production, design software, automate existing business processes, or develop new products like the bank that wants to launch a new mobile application, he said.

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Emery Dalesio can be reached at https://twitter.com/emerydalesio

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