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Odoo expects to double its Buffalo workforce this year to about 225 employees.
In doing so, the Belgium-based business software developer wants to grow the engineering team from two people to more than 50.
That’s a big goal in a highly competitive workforce environment, but the company’s local leaders say they’ve developed specific strategies that will lead to success.
That includes the company’s plan to recruit students on student visas from western and central New York universities. The company will sponsor those students on a longterm pathway for living and working in the United States, such as the H1B visa program for foreign workers.
“We will be accepting students on (the Optional Practical Training program), with the goal of sponsoring them beyond the expiration of that OPT,” said John Truong, an Odoo fullstack engineer in Buffalo who is helping to lead the effort. “We have a diverse employee group and we work closely with many international companies, so foreign students don’t need to worry about feeling out of place.”
It’s a visible, private-sector attempt to solve a challenge in Buffalo: how to hold onto the engineering talent that passes through the University at Buffalo.
Odoo initially chose Buffalo in early 2020 for an operations hub focused on sales and customer service, but its success in finding and retaining talented employees here has increased the scope of its vision for Buffalo. Software developers working in Buffalo will focus on custom solutions for Odoo customers.
“We have an entire backyard of engineering talent in Western New York who aren’t sticking around,” said Nick Kosinski, director of Odoo’s Buffalo office. “They want to secure a plan to stay in the U.S. long term, and they’re looking for companies who will sponsor their pathway to a visa.”
Kosinski continued: “Few companies in Buffalo have paid close attention to that trend, but we see it as a way to get them in the door. The intention is that they’re a great hire, they contribute to the company and we can sponsor them on a more longterm pathway.”
Odoo is also looking to hire up to 20 interns this summer in software roles, Truong said. The company plans to be active on campuses throughout the state this semester, including Cornell University, Syracuse University, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester and the University at Buffalo, among others.
“We’re looking to hire as many interns as we can and to give them a variety of projects, working with business system analysts and sales personnel to create custom developments for our clients,” Truong said.
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