Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and SchoolMint CEO Bryan MacDonald announced the education software company will consolidate its U.S. operations in Lafayette, Louisiana, including transferring its headquarters from San Francisco. In the latest tech win for the Acadiana Region, the specialty software development company also will relocate corporate offices from New York and Miami to Lafayette and make a $515,000 capital investment in new facilities.
SchoolMint will create 178 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $74,200, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in another 219 new indirect jobs, for a total of 397 new jobs for Lafayette Parish and the Acadiana Region. The company also is retaining 13 jobs at its existing Lafayette office.
“With this headquarters relocation from Silicon Valley to South Louisiana, SchoolMint reinforces what we’ve known for a long time: Louisiana is a great place for doing business all across the digital landscape,” Gov. Edwards said. “From Lafayette to Baton Rouge and New Orleans and across North Louisiana’s I-20 Cyber Corridor, Louisiana is leading the way with cutting-edge tech firms creating quality jobs for our digital future. With this project delivering hundreds of new quality jobs, we are happy to welcome SchoolMint to our growing family of leading high-tech companies.”
SchoolMint acquired Lafayette-based Smart Choice Technologies in 2019. Company officials said they began to consider consolidating and relocating their U.S. offices to Lafayette as they tapped into the area’s pro-technology and pro-business climate, college-to-career pipeline and availability of local talent.
“SchoolMint’s mission is helping students, parents, teachers, schools and districts create bright, sustainable futures,” MacDonald said. “We are thrilled about our move to Lafayette and the opportunity to build and expand our workforce in Louisiana, a state that clearly embraces those same values. The vibrant and growing tech culture here is exciting, and we expect to create hundreds of high-tech jobs over the next decade. We look forward to bringing a bit of Silicon Valley to Lafayette, while also deepening the local roots first put down by our Smart Choice division.”
LED and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority began formal discussions about the project with SchoolMint in March 2020. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered SchoolMint a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart®, ranked the No. 1 state workforce training program in the U.S. the past 10 years. The incentive package includes a $900,000 Digital Interactive Media and Software Development tax credit on qualifying software development and payroll expenses, as well as a $1 million performance-based grant for corporate relocation expenses. Based upon meeting capital investment and payroll targets, School Mint will be eligible for up to $100,000 a year for 10 years. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.
“SchoolMint’s announcement is a big win for Lafayette and an affirmation that we can compete with world-class communities to attract business and talent,” Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said. “Our affordable cost of living and cost of doing business, along with our skilled workforce, played a large part in securing SchoolMint’s commitment to Lafayette. I look forward to working with SchoolMint’s team as the company grows in Lafayette Parish.”
“Today’s announcement by SchoolMint is a homecoming of sorts – with the company’s ties to Smart Choice, which was developed right here in Lafayette,” said President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “Since 2014, Lafayette’s tech sector has grown by leaps and bounds, providing jobs that have been transformative to our economy. SchoolMint will continue that transformation by providing quality employment opportunities with local upward mobility for our residents. The relocation of SchoolMint’s headquarters, the consolidation of operations, and the expansion of their current office in Lafayette demonstrates the quality of our workforce, education system, quality of life and fiber infrastructure. We look forward to SchoolMint’s growth in Lafayette and working with the company and our community partners to make Lafayette a premier high-tech hub in the southeastern U.S.”
“Acadiana has cemented itself as a destination for headquarters operations for a host of businesses, especially our vibrant, growing tech sector,” One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman said. “Companies like SchoolMint see the advantages of Acadiana’s skilled workforce, business-friendly environment, and quality of life. We are proud to join LED and LEDA in welcoming them to Lafayette.”