Founded as Oak Ridge Telephone Company in 1946, Monroe-based CenturyTel acquired Kansas-based EMBARQ in July 2009. Together, these companies became CenturyLink: the third largest telecommunications companies in the nation and the largest publicly-traded company headquartered in Louisiana. The acquisition necessitated a larger corporate headquarters for the telecommunications gaint.
After the company more than tripled in size, keeping CenturyLink headquartered in Monroe, LA. became a crucial economic development strategy. Retaining CenturyLink in Monroe appealed to President & CEO Glen Post, as well. A graduate of nearby Louisiana Tech University, Post recognized the value of maintaining CenturyLink's eight-decade relationship with North Louisiana. However, deciding where to establish headquarters for a much larger CenturyLink could not be a sentimental choice. Retaining the headquarters of the merged company in Monroe had to make business sense.
One of the biggest challenge for the newly minted Fortune 170 company is to find the talent needed to sustain its rapid growth. To address CenturyLink's workforce needs, state, regional and local economic development organizations and higher education institutions partnered with CenturyLink to grow a robust workforce pipeline.
The State of Louisiana offered Louisiana Tech University $900,000 over three years to establish the Clarke M. Williams Professorship in Telecommunications, named in honor of CenturyTel's Founder. As part of this arrangement, CenturyLink would collaborate with Louisiana Tech to plan and design courses to serve the advanced education needs of the company's workforce. The purpose of this collaboration was to establish a certificate program that would strengthen the skills of employees and provide them with the training needed for additional success in professional and technical development.
NLEP worked with CenturyLink to develop a talent recruitment and retention program and marketing collateral to promote the region to potential recruits and their families. Louisiana Economic Development's FastStart™, the nation's no. 1 workforce program, created videos and a recruitment website for the company. A number of community groups led the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce organized a Ouachita 101 program to introduce new CenturyLink families to the area.
On March 24, 2015, CenturyLink cut the ribbon on its new 350,000 square foot Technology Century of Excellence based in Monroe, LA. The company's committment to stay put in the community that nurtured its growth prompted other technology companies to choose the Top of Louisiana to locate their businesses. Ericcson, a multinational provider of communication technology and services, located an office in Monroe, as well as Amdocs, a customer care, billing and order management systems for telecommunications carriers. In February 2015, IBM announced it would located a 400 job Application Development and Innovation Center in Monroe to work with CenturyLink.
North Louisiana's dedication to support a home-grown company as it continues to grow is a testament to our region's committment to help our businesses succeed.