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By: Alexandria Burris
Via: The Shreveport Times
The North Louisiana Economic Partnership unveiled its five-year strategic plan Wednesday. And while economic development remains a top priority, the organization is aiming to direct more time to the retention of talented and skilled workers and advocating for a unified North Louisiana.
“Aligning your resources behind a single vision for this area, that’s tough business. But that’s part of what NLEP is good for to help make sure everybody is on the same page as we talk about North Louisiana because your biggest competition is South Louisiana right now,” said Tom Stellman, president and CEO of Austin-based TIP Strategies, which helped NLEP develop its plan.
NLEP is a public-private partnership that works to foster economic development initiatives, support existing businesses and bring new jobs to the 14 parishes of North Louisiana. The organization unveiled its plan to the group of investors and public officials at the petroleum club.
The organization also is launching Regional Works 1.5 an investment campaign that it says will help with the implementation of the plan.
Scott Martinez, NLEP president said 2,000 jobs have been announced in North Louisiana this year. While the number is impressive, Martinez said more can be done. “I think we can do better with our road map for what can do with our future,” he said.
NLEP intends to target transportation, industrial machinery, petrochemicals and cyber security, data centers and defense intelligence businesses. The businesses fall into one of three industries NLEP intends to target for North Louisiana. Those industries are: advanced manufacturing, professional services and information technology.
The vision outlined in the plan is a North Louisiana that is a thriving region and a destination for high-quality talent, innovative companies and global industry. Stellman said the goals include fostering economic development, influencing the pipeline of talent and advocating for the region as a unified region.
NLEP must be a voice in making that skills produced in the region align with labor demands.
“Not only is this a pressing need for today it’s going to be pressing need for tomorrow,” Stellman said. “As baby boomers reach retirement and start moving out of the workforce you’ve got to have secession plans for fulfilling their skill sets and their experience.”