Dubuque officials: IBM client center to close by end of year

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The IBM Client Innovation Center in Dubuque will close within four months, the big tech company said Wednesday, taking nearly 350 jobs with it.

Word of the closure first came from Greater Dubuque Development Corp. CEO Rick Dickinson, who told the Telegraph Herald that an IBM official called his office Wednesday morning to inform him that the IBM facility will close by November. IBM spokesman Fred McNeese confirmed that later Wednesday, saying the company will consolidate the Dubuque tech support and outsourcing center with its center in Columbia, Missouri.

Most employees in Dubuque will be given the opportunity to relocate to the Columbia facility or take a severance package that will include a two-year extension of health benefits. Some employees will be able to remain in Dubuque working from home or within the buildings of large clients, McNeese said.

IBM continually evaluates its facilities around the globe to look for more efficient ways to operate, McNeese said.

“With COVID-19, everybody in the company has already been working from home since sometime in March,” he said. “IBM is looking at post-COVID operations, and it's just more efficient to consolidate Dubuque into Columbia.”

IBM opened the Dubuque center in 2009. It employed 1,300 by September 2011, but that number has regularly declined since, to its current 344 employees, according to city development group figures.