Computer giant I.B.M. is announcing plans to open a technology service center in the northeast Iowa city of Dubuque, creating some 1,300 jobs. Iowa Governor Chet Culver says it’s one of the largest job-generating announcements the state’s seen in many years. 

 "We’re just thrilled, especially as our state and as our country is dealing with this national recession, it’s just fantastic news for the people of Iowa and certainly for the people of Dubuque," Culver says.

The new service facility will be I.B.M.’s largest and Culver says it’s yet another example of Iowa being the ideal incubator for developing and dazzling computer advancements. "We’ve done a very good job in the last year or two of attracting high-tech, information technology companies," Culver says. "Just like Google and Microsoft, I.B.M. is setting up kind of a similar information technology hub."

Many of the recent job losses have been blue-collar positions from factory settings, but the governor says Iowa should have no trouble being able to produce at least 1,300 applicants for I.B.M. who are qualified for such high-tech computer-related jobs.

Culver says: "We are looking forward to partnering with area community colleges, regents institutions, private colleges. We really have some of the best training facilities and training programs in the country through our community college network and then we can attract people from all over the state."

The new I.B.M. center will be located in a Depression-era downtown Dubuque building that once housed a department store. The governor says he’s delighted when historic preservation can work hand in hand with such a grand announcement.

Culver says, "The city leaders of Dubuque and the economic development team have just done an outstanding job of finding a wonderful location, an existing older building that they’ll be able to retrofit and they’ll make it certified and energy efficient."

Plans call for I.B.M. to start hiring within a matter of weeks, filling more than 600 of the jobs this year, with all ,1300 positions being onsite in 2010.