The North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) serves the 14-parish North Louisiana region, which includes Shreveport, Monroe, and Natchitoches. The region experienced a number of high-profile relocations and expansions, including nearly 1,600 new information technology (IT) jobs resulting from the expansion of CenturyLink in Monroe and Computer Sciences Corporation’s (CSC) plans to bring jobs to the Cyber Innovation Center in Shreveport. Along with expanding professional services and IT sectors, the region also experienced employment growth in its historically strong manufacturing sector, including the construction of Benteler Steel/Tube’s 800,000-square-foot tube rolling and finishing mill.
To capitalize on this momentum and shore up the talent pipeline, NLEP hired TIP Strategies to prepare an economic development strategic plan to guide the organization’s activities and structure over a five-year planning horizon. The resulting strategy was structured around three areas where NLEP had the most potential to affect change: 1) providing world-class economic development services; 2) supporting the region’s talent pipeline, especially in light of the dramatic increase in demand for IT workers anticipated from planned expansions; and 3) serving as an advocate in scaling regional efforts in workforce and other areas to gain critical mass. TIP has documented the NLEP’s progress as part of an annual scorecard since the plan’s adoption in 2014. Significant outcomes include launching the “Top of Louisiana” branding campaign, restructuring the organization’s business development team to focus on specific target sectors, refining NELP’s prospect management system, and building an inventory of certified sites and real estate assets (including becoming the first AEROready certified region in Louisiana, a designation that positions the community for aerospace/aviation investment).