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JUL 2015

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122 JULY 2015 S I T E S E L E C T I O N All politics aside, it's workforce and training that continues to cinch deals. L O U I S I A N A b y A D A M B R U N S a d a m . b r u n s @ s i t e s e l e c t i o n . c o m O n the brink of its National Service Center grand opening June 22 in Baton Rouge, IBM cancelled the ribbon cutting. The move came in protest of Gov. Bobby Jindal's May 19 executive order mirroring the language of the "Marriage and Conscience Act" voted down by Louisiana legislators hours before. The executive order, like other measures under discussion over the past year around the country, allows businesses to refuse to serve certain individuals (namely the LGBT community) on the basis of religious freedom. The cancellation came on the heels of announcing in February that another 400 IBM jobs in Louisiana were coming to a new service center in Monroe. IBM expressed its concerns about the original bill in April in a letter from its senior state executive for Louisiana James Driesse to Jindal and state legislative leaders: "We are deeply concerned by reports that you intend to support this legislation," Driesse wrote. "IBM has made signifcant investment in Louisiana including most recently a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge, creating new jobs for Louisiana workers. We located the center in Baton Rouge because we believe Louisiana has great talent and would continue to be a rich source of such talent. However a bill that protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a IBM continues to build on the groundbreaking workforce and higher education partnerships behind its new services center in Baton Rouge, with Louisiana State University leading the way with a new engineering complex (rendering above). Photo courtesy of LSU

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