TAMPA — With Gov. Rick Scott and several local officials on hand to cheer them on, USAA officials broke ground Tuesday on a 420,000 square-foot Tampa headquarters building at U.S. 301 and the Selmon Expressway.
Along with the new building, scheduled to be completed in 2015, comes a promise of 1,200 new jobs, mostly in client services, with the help of state and county funds through the Qualified Targeted Industries Program.
Hillsborough County has pledged $729,000 and the state kicks in the remaining 80 percent, or $2.9 million in job-growth incentives, said County Director of Economic Development Lindsey Kimball.
So far, the company, which provides financial services, insurance services and banking to more than 10 million customers nationwide — most either in the military or veterans — has hired 130 new employees, with the others to be added by 2019.
And USAA is still hiring. Interested applicants can apply on line at USAA.com/careers.
“As they create the jobs, they submit reports to the state, showing that they are paying the correct wages, and then they are reimbursed,” Kimball explained.
“We've already met, even surpassed our numbers of 100 employees for this year, primarily member service representatives to help clients with insurance, banking and financial services transactions,” said USAA spokeswoman Rebecca Hirsch.
Hirsch said the company is shooting to hire 30 percent of its employees nationwide from the ranks of veterans.
Cameron Gallman, introduced by Gov. Scott during the ground-breaking ceremony, is a former Marine still serving in the reserves. He joined the USAA team about 18 month ago knowing little about insurance. With a few months of training and some hands-on experience, he said, he has already been promoted to senior finance foundation specialist.
“USAA makes the transition from the military into its ranks very smooth,” Gallman said before the ground breaking. “From the day I walked in the door, it was all about honoring veterans.”
The average pay for the USAA jobs is about $47,000, County Spokeswoman Crystal Pruitt said.
“It's not every day we get to announce 1,200 new jobs in our great state,” the governor said. He remarked on the low unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay region — 5.9 percent — and how Tampa is “doing a great job as one of the biggest job generators in the state, year after year.”