TAMPA — Tribridge, a global technology services firm based in Tampa, plans to hire up to 200 more tech professionals over the next few years with the help of $1 million from the state and local governments.
Some of the jobs are already available, said Tribridge Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tony DiBenedetto. Salaries for jobs at Tribridge average around $80,000, he said. “These are very high-paying jobs, well above the high-average salary.”
Recruiting and keeping young, tech-savvy professionals, not building more subdivisions, will move this area in the right direction, said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, speaking during a press conference Wednesday.
“For decades, kids would leave this community and this state — it was a one-way street out,” Buckhorn said. “It’s not like that now.” The mayor said it was his intent, when he took office three years ago “to change Tampa’s DNA” and tech jobs like the ones Tribridge is creating are doing that.
“We were entirely dependent on construction for the sake of construction,” he said. Not so now. “This is a Tampa success story.”
In April, the Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council approved $200,000 to pair with an $800,000 commitment from the state through its Qualified Target Industry program to help Tribridge create these jobs. The incentives will be distributed over six years, as Tribridge shows proof of the hires at the wages promised.
The jobs could have come without the government incentives, but they would have come at a slower pace, DiBenedetto said.
Employees will be hired mostly in two areas — Tribridge’s cloud division known as Concerto, which has grown 100 percent for each of the past three years and its “human capital management” program called Cornerstone on Demand, which helps companies, small to large, reach performance objectives.
He said the company will be seeking out experienced IT professionals and those straight out of college. Those with experience will be trained in newer technologies, mostly through on-line work, he said. Those straight out of college will receive two years worth of training both online and on the job, DiBenedetto said.
Tribridge employees work both remotely and in the office, so there is no plan to expand office space at Urban Centre One, at Kennedy and Westshore boulevards, he said.
“These employees will work locally and pay taxes locally,” DiBenedetto said. “We are very passionate about what happens here locally and we are amazed at the amount of help we’ve gotten from the community” to help grow Tribridge, he said. “When we look back, it’s all about the help we’ve gotten.”
Tribridge has about 600 employees nationwide, with about 240 of them based in Tampa.
“There is a talent gap in this high-growth industry,” DiBenedetto said. “We are collaborating with government to get this done. I think we are starting to crack the code. We’re building the future economy.”
“Bringing tech jobs and talent here is our purpose and vision,” said Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Mark Sharpe. “It helps Tampa Bay make its mark. We want companies making or serving projects here.”
Enterprise Florida President and CEO Gray Swoope called the Tribridge expansion “an important addition to this industry. Florida’s resources, including a strong workforce, expansive infrastructure and strategic partnerships, have created one of the top business climates in the country.”
Florida currently ranks third in the nation for high-tech establishments and the Florida High Tech Corridor, anchored in the Tampa Bay region is one of the top tech job hot spots in the U.S., according to the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.
The Tampa metro area is home to about 20 percent of the state’s IT positions. In the past five years, local IT jobs have grown at nearly twice the rate of overall job growth, according to the economic development corporation. Those jobs are projected to increase by 10 percent more over the next five years.
“We really are on the tip of the iceberg,” said Allen Brinkman, chairman of the economic development corporation. “Things like this are revolutionizing our area.” What draws people to this area now is not what drew them in the past, he said. “It’s a cool quality of life, but it’s also a cool place to do business.”