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General Motors recently opened its newest IT Innovation Center in Chandler, Arizona.

General Motors continues moving forward with its ambitious three-year plan to overhaul its information technology services by bringing them back in house with the opening of its next innovation center.

The automaker opened its newest IT innovation center in Chandler, Arizona and hired 500 employees to staff the facility. Overall, the company expects to hire 1,000 employees during the next two years.

Randy Mott, GM senior vice president, Global Information Technology & Chief Information Officer, said the innovation centers are part of a companywide transformation to improve performance, reduce the cost of ongoing operations and increase its delivery of innovation.

Mott spearheaded the move when he came over from Hewlett-Packard in 2012. GM announced Chandler as the site of the company’s fourth IT Innovation Center in March 2013, and construction on the 170,000-square-foot center was completed in June this year.

“We have made significant progress transforming GM IT over the past 20 months,” Mott said. “The success of the Chandler Innovation Center is yet another important proof point that illustrates our progress.”

Mott said GM was 75% of the way toward reaching overall hiring goals at the four designated innovation centers.

“When we look at our transformation objectives and initiatives – doubling the speed of project delivery, tripling innovation, building enterprise data centers, creating an enterprise data warehouse – we’re more than halfway there,” Mott said.

Locating the four innovation centers strategically near top universities and places where the top talent works has given us a pool of the best of the best from which to draw. GM chose the innovation center locations by looking at IT talent-rich areas that also offer a strong community, attractive cost of living, an appealing business environment and high-tech industry presence.

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About a quarter of the first 500 employees working at the center are recent college graduates. The majority came from Arizona State, University of Arizona, Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. Four of five IT majors at higher education institutions across the states are within a three-hour drive of a GM IT innovation center.

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The building in Chandler is the only one of the four innovation centers built from the ground up; the other centers in Warren, Mich.; Austin, Texas; and Roswell, Ga. are located in existing facilities.

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“What surprised us is the overwhelming interest from students and experienced IT professionals to join the team,” Mott added.

GM isn’t the only automaker making a move to bring its IT operations under its own roof. Ford and others are also capitalizing on the trend, but haven’t done so in such a sweeping manner. GM is expected to handle as much as 90% of its IT needs with its own people.

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