Why a company from India known for H-1B visas is hiring in Indiana: Gov. Eric Holcomb

  • India-based tech firm Infosys is often criticized for use of H-1B foreign worker visas.
  • As part of his "Hire American" plan, President Donald Trump has ordered a review of the work visa program.
  • In May, Infosys announced plans to create 2,000 jobs in Indiana, the home state of Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Infosys has said it will create as many as 10,000 jobs and four tech centers in the US in the next two years.
  • The incentive package given to Infosys was reported to be one of the largest-ever, given by the Hoosier State to a firm valued at up to $31 million.

In Indiana we're building a government that's designed to serve business. That's because in Indiana, businesses receive more than a location — they receive an ally and a partner in their mission to operate, add jobs and grow.

Travel across the Hoosier state, and you'll quickly discover incredible stories of companies growing because they can access the resources they need to thrive in our state.

A great example is the story of Infosys, an India-based tech firm. Earlier this year, Infosys set a vision to grow their global company into one of the United States' major players tech players. They needed a place that would serve as a strategic partner, providing an ample workforce and a collaborative environment to help train 2,000 new tech workers.

And after a little searching, they found exactly what they needed in Indiana.

Infosys chose Indiana for one of its new U.S. innovation hubs because we quickly responded to their needs. In fact, we were so quick, that our team was on a plane to Infosys' headquarters in India within one week of an invite to visit. We rallied our university and local government partners, and showcased one of the most affordable places in the nation for doing business.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka tour the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse.
Office of the Indiana Governor
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka tour the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse.

At a May press conference announcing Infosys' decision to locate 2,000 new jobs in Indiana, Ravi Kumar, the company's president said, "I've worked with many governments in the U.S. and all over the world, and I've never found a government so proactive as Indiana's."

Now, Indiana might not be the first place some people think of when the words "global" or "tech" are mentioned. But our state is home to more than 800 foreign-owned business facilities, which employ 170,800 Hoosiers. Indiana is also home to the nation's fifth fastest-growing community for tech-related job growth, making this a natural home for a company like Infosys.

Of course, this type of growth didn't happen overnight. Indiana's status as a global business leader is a direct result of more than a decade of work building the best possible environment for business growth. While some states were raising taxes and putting off paying their bills, in Indiana we were balancing our state budget and building a healthy budget reserve.

Today, the results of that fiscal responsibility are shining through. Since the recession, Indiana's private sector has added more than 350,000 new jobs while our unemployment rate has enjoyed the third-largest drop in the nation.

Looking ahead, we're committed to working with companies like Infosys to take Indiana to the next level. And we've got a plan to take us there.

The Carrier deal: A symbol of President Trump's 'Hire American' pledge. Overlooked: Indiana is the fifth fastest-growing tech job market, and more than 800 foreign-owned businesses employ 170,800 state residents.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images
The Carrier deal: A symbol of President Trump's 'Hire American' pledge. Overlooked: Indiana is the fifth fastest-growing tech job market, and more than 800 foreign-owned businesses employ 170,800 state residents.

Central to this plan is a long-term solution for funding road improvements. Through Indiana's new transformational, 20-year infrastructure plan, the state will invest an additional $1.2 billion annually by 2024 into our roads and bridges, maintaining our position as a global logistics leader and our state motto, "The Crossroads of America."

Next, we're tackling the nation's workforce challenges head-on. With Indiana's unemployment rate standing lower than all neighboring states and the national average, we're building our workforce by helping connect Hoosiers with training for high-skilled jobs. This includes Indiana's new Workforce Ready Grants, which will cover 100 percent of tuition costs for Hoosier adults to earn certifications in high-wage, high-demand career fields.

Also central to Indiana's success has been a strong focus on regional development and planning efforts. Indiana communities are coming together like never before to implement strategic plans to build their regions into nationally-recognized centers to live, work, play and stay.

And with these nationally recognized centers for talent, it's only natural that we're also seeing a surge of entrepreneurial activity across the state, and Indiana's new Next Level Trust Fund will invest $250 million in high-growth small and mid-size businesses across the state.

It's an exciting time to be a Hoosier. Last year, we celebrated our bicentennial and marked a turning point for our state. As Indiana enters its third century, we have a vision that will elevate our state to another level of economic growth and opportunity.

By Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2017 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.

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