This past February, Liaison announced the expansion of its technical support center in America’s heartland – Carbondale, Illinois. A community in southern Illinois with a population of just 26,000, Carbondale might seem an unlikely place for a pivotal part of our company, but for us rural sourcing has made a lot of sense.
You see, we know people are fed up with dealing with tech support in time zones halfway around the world, who are difficult to understand and who often aren’t well-equipped to solve problems quickly, if at all. That’s why we decided two years ago to locate our Managed Services hub in the United States. We chose Carbondale because it’s an area I know well as an Illinois native. I knew firsthand that Southern Illinois University (SIU) graduates walk away with a first-class technical education. I know this because I’m one of them. I also know that nearly all SIU tech degree grads have to leave Carbondale to find a job, just like I did.
We started out small in Carbondale—with a handful of people working out of a small space in the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at SIU—to provide support for our on-premise and cloud-based data integration and data management solutions and platforms, and to also provide data mapping and implementation services to Liaison’s North American customers. Once we were sure the operation would fly, we starting hiring more SIU grads. By the end of 2011, we were up to 17 employees and busting at the seams at the campus location. We relocated in February to a 5,000-square-foot facility off campus and announced plans to hire more personnel.
And that we did. Over the past three months we’ve hired three more SIU graduates and we also have an SIU junior working part time. An SIU senior just joined our internship program. And with our new, much larger facility, we have room for many more.
Additionally, we have brought on a number of seasoned IT professionals in Carbondale to complement our recent graduates and provide a perfect balance of skills and experience to meet the growing demands of a growing market.
Rural sourcing is good for us, it’s good for our customers and it’s good for talented grads who want to work close to home.
If more companies would embrace rural sourcing to take advantage of local talent, the days of graduates having to leave highly-desirable areas like southern Illinois to get jobs in the technology space will become a thing of the past.
In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll talk to one of our mapping specialists, who is a recent SIU hire, and also to our technical operations manager, to get their perspectives on our rural sourcing strategy.
Join us next Tuesday (June 19) to hear Larry and Kyle Harfst, with SIU, speak further on their experiences.