According to a study compiled by analysts with www.howmuch.com, the Lake Charles area is the number one market for job seekers in America.
“We analyzed changes in employment figures between 2013 and 2018 from the 381 metropolitan areas defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. We started by mapping a vertical spike indicating the relative percentage of job growth change in the best city from each state. Then we outlined the geographic region of each metro area, color-coding each one according to a sliding scale of median household income from under $50k to over $65k,” according to the website.
In case you are wondering the study’s list of top 10 markets are:
- Lake Charles, LA: 28.3% and $52,314
- Bend-Redmond, OR: 26.6% and $66,273
- Elkhart, IN: 24.0% and $58,960
- St. George, UT: 23.4% and $54,842
- Greeley, CO: 21.1% and $68,884
- Gainesville, GA: 20.9% and $61,977
- Fayetteville, AR: 20% and $56,038
- Boise City, ID: 18.6% and $55,324
- Austin, TX: 18.4% and $73,800
- Reno, NV: 18.0% and $61,360
This type of news should excite all of us. Longtime residents of the region have always known that the Lake Charles/Sulphur area and surrounding communities have been primed for nationwide recognition.
As we progress through hyper economic growth, the need to be cognizant of future jobs and a diversified economy are important.
Yesterday, representatives with the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council (LaSTEM) visited the city to start the process of generating more interest in projects and initiatives which could generate even more employment growth.
Louisiana State Senator Sharon Hewitt (a Lake Charles native) proposed the legislative bill that created the council was in attendance and voiced support for STEM programs in the region.
LaSTEM’s core tasks are to: coordinate and oversee the creation, delivery and promotion of STEM education programs; ensure the alignment of education, economic development, industry and workforce needs; increase student interest and achievement in the fields of STEM and increase the number of women who graduate from a post-secondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.
Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Hunter Reed explained during the meeting that Southwest Louisiana can be a hot spot in regards to STEM jobs as much as it is for hospitality, health care and industrial related employment.
“This is a great community to do it in. There are strong partnerships here. We need to make sure there is an opportunity for everyone,” she said.
Since its inception in 2017, the advisory council has several statewide wins: reinstatement of the STEM teacher education program; new STEM related LED JumpStart graduate path; and STEM endorsed high school diplomas.
In order for STEM initiatives to take root in the region, residents, business and government leaders need to continue stressing the need for a good education on both in the secondary and post-secondary levels. Also, our region needs to continue encouraging both young and old, who have technology based ideas, to realize their potential.
Lastly, all of us would be wise to understand that our lives have been and will continue to be disrupted by advances in technology.
In Louisiana, manufacturing is a primary economic driver. In the not too distant future, manufacturing and information technology will be the main drivers.
If a child or teenager shows even the smallest interest in math or sciences, they need to be introduced to a science or math teacher, professor, local engineer or computer programmer.
Exposure to new ideas is what breeds creativity, which can lead to inventions that may create jobs and wealth.
Lake Charles is an employment hot spot. Historic business activity is occurring and will for the next decade. Yet diversifying this economy will make sure our people not only have jobs, but jobs of the future.
All of us should continue to be vigilant in making sure everyone has access to an education and afterwards, continue learning. If there was ever a time where education is the key to a quality of life and success, now is that time.