Government’s recent announcement of a 3.5 million investment into Desire2Learn (D2L) Incorporated is great news for Memorial University’s Department of Computer Science. That’s according to acting department head, Dr. Wolfgang Banzhaf.
With this funding, the provider of cloud-based learning solutions for education, healthcare, government and the corporate sector is now expanding operations from its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, into Newfoundland and Labrador
“They’re going to be doing a lot of hiring soon and that means they’re going to be coming to us for graduates in the areas of computing and information processing,” said Dr. Banzhaf. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity because many people in science, when they graduate, feel they have to move to the mainland or somewhere else, whereas opportunities like this in our local community are very attractive.”
In making the announcement, Keith Hutchings, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development said the funding supports the continued growth of the province’s $1.6 billion information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
“A big strength for these kinds of companies is that their employees can be remote from headquarters,” said Dr. Banzhaf. “Perhaps that’s why the provincial government wants to support them. We don’t have to have the company headquarters located in Newfoundland and Labrador, but we can still provide creative people to these businesses, while providing employees with a great quality of life and a high paying job.”
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI) says the technology sector is strong and growing in this province, contributing over six per cent of the provincial economy and employing over 3,800 full-time employees.
“It has never been more important than now to ensure we have an environment in place for the growth of technology in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said NATI chair, Gerard Duggan, when the D2L announcement was made. “We are seeing not only great innovation, which has always been here, but much more of an economic and social impact driven by technology and the knowledge based industry.”
Mr. Duggan added that D2L’s decision to locate operations in the province is a clear indication that technology firms competing globally see value in our sector. D2L president and CEO, John Baker, agrees, and he already has his eye on computer science graduates from Memorial University.
“With the province’s focus on building the community with highly skilled ICT professionals, and the accessibility of career-ready graduates from both Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic programs, D2L is looking forward to hiring the best and brightest to help grow our company in this region,” said Mr. Baker on the day of the announcement.
“We are dedicated to creating solutions that leverage the latest in technology to foster lifelong learning, and our ability to tap into this workforce will help push us further.”
D2L will build its local workforce to 35 employees over the next five years and over a 10-year period it is projected the net economic benefit will be approximately $21 million.