LED plans new focus on workforce and site development
Louisiana Economic Development is beginning two new initiatives focused on improving the state's workforce readiness and having more sites ready immediately for prospect companies, LED Secretary Stephen Moret says. He says staff members of the state's FastStart program, which up until now worked only with a limited number of new and expanding companies, will be dedicated to solving broader workforce issues. For example, FastStart may work with the universities and technical schools to develop programs that will teach specialized skills needed in the digital media sector. "We're going to work to create a much tighter link between our economic development efforts and what's coming out of the workforce pipeline," Moret says. LED also is developing a "smart sites" program to ensure the state has a good inventory of possible sites for companies that might want to invest here. "When we get RFPs for projects, we often only have two or three days to respond," Moret says. "So it's critical that we have sites that are available immediately." Moret would like to be able to tell a prospect how many appropriate sites the state has available, who owns them, how much it will cost to build the infrastructure, and so on. The goal is to have a database of at least 75 sites by the end of the fiscal year in June. —David Jacobs
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