Louisiana Economic Development receives a "Gold" ranking from Business Facilities magazine.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- In its 2010 rankings issue, Business Facilities magazine named Louisiana FastStart™ the nation's best state workforce training program. Louisiana FastStart edged out other top five finishers -- Georgia, New Mexico, Florida and North Carolina -- for the top spot.
"Louisiana has established the gold standard for workforce training solutions with its innovative Louisiana FastStart program," said Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers. "The availability of customized workforce recruitment, screening and training rapidly is becoming a requirement for success in the competition for new business. Louisiana is far ahead of the curve with a fully integrated program that works in partnership with higher education in a coordinated economic development strategy that targets growth sectors."
For its 2010 Workforce Training ranking, Business Facilities considered each state's workforce training incentives and their success in securing projects, coordination of workforce training between economic development organizations and higher education, and several other factors.
"Since day one, we have made economic development and job creation our top priority, and we have taken aggressive action to make Louisiana the best place for businesses to invest and create jobs for our people," said Gov. Bobby Jindal. "Louisiana FastStart is one of the reasons why Louisiana has attracted more significant business development projects per capita than any other Southern state for the last two years in a row. Indeed, thanks to Louisiana FastStart, Louisiana offers a faster, higher quality and more comprehensive workforce solution for new and expanding companies than any other state in the U.S. We have placed Louisiana in a position to be first in new jobs and investment and we are not stopping here. We will continue to build on our efforts to tell the nation about the limitless opportunities for growth and prosperity in our state so we can create even more jobs for our people."
Launched in 2008 as part of Gov. Jindal's comprehensive workforce development reform plan, Louisiana FastStart was developed to enhance Louisiana's ability to attract jobs from business expansions and business recruitment at a faster pace than the South on a regular basis.
Staffed with experienced industry training experts, Louisiana FastStart provides highly customized turnkey workforce solutions for new or expanding facilities, including employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery for both pre-employment and post-employment phases, all at no cost to eligible Louisiana companies (i.e., those creating at least 15 new manufacturing jobs or 50 new, service-related jobs in an economic-driver business). Louisiana FastStart's partners include the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Louisiana Workforce Commission, selected Louisiana universities and a variety of private-sector training experts.
Louisiana FastStart has delivered or is delivering comprehensive workforce solutions for a wide variety of companies across Louisiana, for example: Stupp Corp. and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Baton Rouge; Folgers in New Orleans; Shaw Modular Solutions, Aeroframe Services and Northrop Grumman in Lake Charles; Cameron Valves in Ville Platte; Globalstar in Covington; ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston in Delhi; Dr. Reddy's Laboratories in Shreveport; Gardner Denver Thomas in Monroe; Pixel Magic in Lafayette; Roy O. Martin in Chopin; Barrister Global Services in Hammond; and Zagis USA in Lacassine.
Louisiana FastStart's customers (expanding companies) have been very pleased with the assistance they have received from the program.
When presenting Fortune 1000 company Gardner Denver's financial results for the third quarter of 2009 to Wall Street analysts, Gardner Denver President and CEO Barry Pennypacker said, "We were able to accelerate the relocation of certain manufacturing cells from Sheboygan, Wis., to Monroe, La., mainly due to the outstanding training support provided by the state of Louisiana [via Louisiana FastStart], which has been integral to the success of this project."
"Louisiana FastStart made tools available to us that we didn't know existed," said Shaw Modular Solutions General Manager Carl Douglas. "If I ever do another start-up ... I hope it's in Louisiana."
"Louisiana FastStart has absolutely been everything we were told it would be. Louisiana FastStart brought that unique combination to the table of being aggressive but also being prudent ... meaning that from our perspective, they didn't just tell us they would do it, but did it. Louisiana FastStart was everything that was promised and then some," said John Bowers, president of Barrister Global Services Network Inc.
"If we were to do that ourselves, we'd be doing it for another three years ... in all honesty. As a result, the value they bring is that we are now able to hit the marketplace with a quality product that hits the delivery dates we promised. It's huge. It's putting us in a position to be the number one spiral mill producer in North America," said Ed Scram, president and chief operating officer of Stupp Corp.
Louisiana FastStart has differentiated itself as a premier workforce solution provider by providing comprehensive, highly customized solutions, and by using the latest training methodologies and technologies to ensure that companies meet or exceed their workforce quality and productivity targets. For example, Louisiana FastStart is the first state workforce training solution that is using the Apple iPad as a training platform to deliver standard operating procedures, work instructions and streaming video to employees within a validated quality management system. This will allow employees to use training aids that are portable and instantly updatable at any location within an organization, but secured via Learning Management System or intranet.
With expertise in several high-wage industries, such as automotive, aviation/aerospace, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and corporate headquarters, Louisiana FastStart also has become one of Louisiana's top differentiators in site selection competitions for major job-creating projects.
"In less than two years, Louisiana FastStart has gone from a startup to becoming recognized as the best in the country. Without a doubt, Louisiana FastStart has become a world-class workforce solutions provider and one of the most powerful weapons in our economic development arsenal," said Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret. "I'm very proud of what Louisiana FastStart Executive Director Jeff Lynn and his team have accomplished in a very short period of time. Our goal with Louisiana FastStart is to continue to execute at a world-class level and to continue to innovate so that national business leaders will become increasingly aware that no state can deliver a complete workforce solution faster or better than Louisiana."
Louisiana FastStart has received positive national recognition from a variety of publications this year. For example, in its February/March 2010 issue, Area Development magazine recognized Louisiana FastStart as one of three elite workforce programs in the South (along with Alabama's AIDT program and Georgia Quick Start). The Area Development article noted, "Other states have attempted to model programs like Louisiana FastStart, AIDT and Quick Start, but find it challenging if they lack expertise across a wide range of industries, plentiful and experienced industry advisors, a well-connected technical college system or a history of exceeding expectations when it comes to building relationships with industry."
"Louisiana FastStart is thrilled to be recognized as the country's finest workforce training program," said Louisiana FastStart Executive Director Jeff Lynn. "Our experienced and business-savvy team has set the bar high and will continue to use the latest technologies and the most effective tools to create a trained workforce in Louisiana that is second to none. Accordingly, Louisiana FastStart will continue to enhance the competitiveness of expanding Louisiana companies, as well as new companies we help recruit to Louisiana."
The new workforce rankings are posted on the Business Facilities website, www.BusinessFacilities.com, and the full set of rankings will be published in the magazine's July/August issue. Business Facilities currently publishes the only national ranking of state workforce training programs.
Press release: LED