Founded in 1976, Montreal-based CGI has approximately 31,000 employees around the world. It offers end-to-end information and technology processes and services, meant to provide clients with every step of technological development.

The company already has more than 700 employees across Texas. The new center will create at least 350 new jobs, and perhaps as many as 400, by 2016. Schindler said 50 people are already working in Belton and there will be 100 there by the end of the year.

Fort Hood is also about a half hour's drive away, and CGI plans to recruit military veterans and their relatives. Schindler said CGI already does a lot of work for the U.S. armed forces and, "we recognize the leadership veterans bring, the experience they bring and the commitment and dedication that they have."

The area could use an economic shot in the arm. The unemployment rate for Bell County, which includes Belton, was 7.6 percent in February and as high as 8.6 percent last year. Texas' statewide unemployment rate has fallen for six consecutive months, to 7.1 percent in February.

Though it has a presence in India and other countries overseas, CGI said it is looking to expand in the U.S. because some of its American clients who have moved production to other countries are looking to restart operations closer to home and free from cultural, currency or time-zone challenges.

"Belton fits within our global deliverable model because most clients now have to have global capabilities," said Peter Ihrig, who leads CGI operations in Texas. "It's India and Belton, not either-or."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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