Rural Sourcing Inc., a technology company that touts itself as bringing outsourced jobs back to America, announced Tuesday that it will locate in Augusta, where it will hire 100 workers.
"Essentially, when you get down to it, we are in the business of bringing jobs back to the United States," CEO Monty Hamilton said in a news conference held by the Development Authority of Richmond County, which worked with the state to recruit the company to Augusta.
Augusta officials said the high-tech jobs will allow the community to keep some of its best young talent and gain a foothold in recruiting similar companies.
"For me, to keep a vibrant and sustainable community, you have to recruit and retain the best and brightest young people from around the nation really," Mayor Deke Copenhaver said. "A company like this, with 100 tech jobs, allows us to do that, so it's a huge step forward for the city."
Atlanta-based Rural Sourcing is an arm of Clarkston Consulting, and its employees write code for computers. The company's work runs the gamut from making applications for iPhones to creating high-level computer systems for clients such as R.J. Reynolds.
The company will be based downtown in Enterprise Mill and has already hired three workers who will start Monday, said Ingrid Miller, the company's director for operations.
Miller said she hopes to have at least 10 more workers begin by Jan. 1 and to have the company expand to 100 employees within three to five years.
Salary for a new graduate who is hired would likely range between $35,000 and $45,000, not including benefits and bonuses, Hamilton said.
Augusta State University and Augusta Technical College together graduate between 40 and 50 students each year with computer science and programming skills, said Terry Elam, the chairman of the development authority and the president of Augusta Tech.
Economic development officials convinced Hamilton that the work force was available to sustain growth.
"It became obvious that there are a number of graduates who come out with those skills with programming capabilities who just don't have a lot of opportunities to stay here and put those to use," Hamilton said.
Rural Sourcing is growing because of clients who have become frustrated working with companies that have outsourced to places such as China and India, Hamilton said.
"We're very cost-competitive," he said. "We find low cost-of-living locations where bright young people are, frankly, willing to trade off some salary for being able to stay here or not get on a plane and live that life on the road."
He said be believes that tens of thousands of outsourced jobs can be brought back to the U.S.
The company's facility in Jonesboro, Ark., has already expanded to larger buildings twice, proving the model can work, Hamilton said.
Elam said customer service centers in Augusta such as Automatic Data Processing prove the trend has legs.
"We like that trend, and we think that trend means a lot for our economy," Elam said.