Chalk up another major connection between Western Pennsylvania and Ireland.
Pittsburgh-based UPMC, the state’s largest health care provider, announced Thursday that it plans to establish a Global Technology Operations Center in Kilkenny, Ireland to support the health system’s continuing international expansion.
UPMC already has a robust presence in the Emerald Isle, including health care facilities in Waterford, Cork, Carlow and Kildare. The new center is expected to employ more than 60 skilled technology workers and other support staff, adding to the nearly 500 UPMC staff already there.
UPMC International Senior Vice President David Beirne, who also is managing director of UPMC in Ireland, said that support from IDA Ireland, which encourages foreign investment and job creation, was one of many advantages UPMC weighed.
“This new center will give us the unique ability to accommodate regulatory, cultural and language requirements across our international sites, including in Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan and China.”
IDA Ireland is the Irish government’s foreign direct investment agency, responsible for the attraction and retention of inward business development into Ireland. IDA Ireland assisted UPMC as a strategic partner providing consultancy and support services in the organization’s expansion in Ireland, according to the group.
“This investment by UPMC demonstrates a huge vote of confidence in Ireland, our strong value proposition and our agile and adaptable business environment that we’ve sustained despite the unprecedented changes imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” IDA’s CEO Martin Shanahan, said in a release.
UPMC said the southeast region of Ireland was chosen because of its proximity to other key UPMC health care facilities as well as for the country’s strong tech talent pool, business-friendly environment, significant presence of other major tech companies and its active innovation community supporting tech startups and incubators.
With multiple hospitals, cancer centers and other health care facilities in Italy and Ireland, an advisory agreement to support an academic medical center in Kazakhstan and a planned partnership to manage a network of new hospitals in China, UPMC has one of the largest international divisions of any U.S. academic medical center.
The Pittsburgh region has several ties to Ireland, including cultural and ancestral. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 15 percent of Allegheny County residents identified themselves as having Irish ancestry, making Irish the second-highest ancestry group behind only German, at nearly 22 percent, according to the IDA.
The late Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland under President Barack Obama from 2009-2012, and the Irish government has designated Pittsburgh as an honorary Irish consulate due to the region being an important location for the Irish diaspora.