Witnessing economic development success is just one of the rewarding aspects of Chamber life.
The reason for that is simple. Dreams that become plans, which are then converted into viable and strong enterprises, lead to jobs.
In Southwest Louisiana, employment creation has been the hallmark of joint collaborations between state, parish and local entities, the Alliance/Chamber SWLA, business community and more importantly…our residents.
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) is a cabinet level agency in the Governor’s administration. Basically, LED’s mission is to “Cultivate jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana through nine integrated economic development strategies,” according to the agency’s website.
The state’s game plan includes:
- Strategically improve state economic competitiveness
- Engage with local partners to enhance competitiveness
- Forge partnerships to enhance regional economic development assets
- Expand and retain in-state businesses
- Execute a strong business recruitment program
- Cultivate small business, innovation and entrepreneurship
- Enhance workforce development solutions
- Promote Louisiana’s robust business advantages
- Attract foreign direct investments and grow international trade
The Alliance works closely with LED and the result has been some astounding economic development wins for the five parish region.
2021 was a grand year for the state, as it recorded $20.5 billion in capital investment, which was up from $12.7 billion in 2020 and $8.5 billion in 2019. In 2021, 6,720 new direct jobs, compared to 3,173 in 2020 and 4,921 in 2019 were created.
“2021 was a milestone year for business investment and job creation in Louisiana. It was also a year when the state’s economic versatility was on full display,” states LED’s 2021 annual report. “Business success in Louisiana is powered by global access to international markets, an engaged system of colleges and universities, abundant natural resources, critical infrastructure and a world-class workforce.”
Louisiana’s top 20 projects by capital expenditure in 2021 include three in Southwest Louisiana:
- Venture Global announced it would invest over $10 billion in developing an LNG facility in Cameron. The project is going to result in at least 200 direct new jobs, with an average salary of $120,000, plus benefits. LED estimates 867 indirect jobs will be created for a total of 1,067 jobs in Southwest Louisiana.
- BioLab announced a new $170 million chlorine manufacturing plant in Westlake. The project is expected to create 82 direct jobs, with an average salary of $76,000 plus benefits. It is also expected to create 231 indirect jobs while retaining 19 jobs.
- Canfor announced it selected Beauregard parish for final engineering and feasibility for a $160 million state-of-the art lumber mill. Canfor will create 130 direct new jobs with an average salary of $59,921, plus benefits. LED estimates the project will result in 386 new indirect jobs for a total of 516 jobs.
LED Secretary Don Pierson states in the report, “2021 was a remarkable year for LED and a clear signal that local, regional and state efforts to strengthen our business climate are accelerating our growth.
“The influx of thousands of new jobs for Louisiana residents across the state stands as our proudest achievement from 2021. The more than 18,000 new direct and indirect jobs created are among the most ever in a single year for LED.”
What is interesting is that more jobs are on the way due to work by economic development professionals on the local and state level.
New jobs lead to opportunities for our entrepreneurs to provide goods and services to the growing workforce.
This is truly rewarding to see and the Alliance/Chamber SWLA wants everyone to benefit from the economic growth.
Eric Cormier is Vice President of Policy and Strategic Development at the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance/Chamber SWLA. He can be contacted at 337-433-3632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.