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General Dynamics IT to open call center in Hattiesburg

Less than two weeks after a tornado tore through Hattiesburg and  Petal, state and local officials gathered to announce that General Dynamics Information Technology will open a call center within the city the next two months.

The call center will create 225 jobs by this summer, and 250 by April 2014. The new location, set for the 17,000 square-foot Cloverleaf Building on Highway 49 south, will be operational by April of this year and will support General Dyamics’ work with the U.S. Dept. of Education’s federal student aid program.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing $150,000 in ACE money, taken from a fund the MDA uses to help local economic development entities like Hattiesburg’s Area Development Partnership lure projects. The company will also receive local and state tax incentives and workforce training assistance.

General Dynamics, a Fortune 100 company headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employees nearly 100,000 people worldwide. The company is involved in a number of aviation and marine systems, including land and expeditionary systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and IT systems.

General Dynamics IT is headquartered in Fairfax, Va., employs 21,000 people worldwide and provides systems engineering, professional services and simulation training to a number of private and government agencies, including the defense industry, healthcare, homeland security and intelligence communities.

The center will act as a processing center for federal student aid applications, Marcus Collier, General Dynamics IT senior vice president of health and civilian solutions division. In 2012, Collier said, a similar center processed a total of 12 million applications. “We’ve been supporting the Department of Education on this program since 1985,” Collier said.

A majority of the 225 jobs will be customer service representatives and call center supervisors, Collier said.

“We are going to make sure this great company is so excited about being part of the Pine Belt, Hattiesburg and Southern Miss,” Gov. Phil Bryant told an audience of a couple hundred people at Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Convention Center.

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