by Julie Landry TECHNOLOGY EVOLVES at an exponential rate— with each new advancement, more and more becomes possible. The business world has changed rapidly over the past decade, and worldwide connectivity means all communities compete for and conduct business on a global scale. This May, the International Economic Development Council even hosted a worldwide “Economic Development Week” in celebration of the industry’s international applications.
which we facilitate our outreach. This series brings our business leaders, community representatives and higher education partners together to share and analyze workforce development information. In consideration of the many different paths that lead from education to the labor force, we collaborate with partners who train our future workers all across the K-12, collegiate, professional development pipeline. Each gathering focuses on one topic to stimulate the dialogue. Last year, sessions focused on themes ranging from healthcare and biosciences to construction and coastal restoration to manufacturing. This year, we focus on maritime, information technology and STEM education, among others. Analysts offer projections for the future of our parish. Businesses share what they expect and require of the workforce. Educators use that information to drive curriculum in classrooms to recruit new students. We have determined that businesses seek out problem solvers. Employers want a highly skilled, dedicated and well-educated workforce equipped with critical thinking and communication skills. Students and job-seekers expect inclusive opportunities for their diverse community and a corporate commitment to their continued professional development. Last year, a WDS presentation given by Louisiana Economic Development predicted that, based on the anticipated number of future manufacturing projects, Louisiana will need over 83,000 skilled craft workers by 2018 to build manufacturing infrastructure. By sharing this information among our strategic partners in higher education and local industry, we expedite preparations and solutions for the future. Local workforce development initiatives such as the Northshore Technical Community College STEM campus are preparing new workers for these positions every day, and we at STEDF are working to develop an advanced manufacturing business park in our parish. St. Tammany conducts business as a community, and a healthy economy benefits every resident. Workforce development ensures strong, competitive professionals join the worker pool continually.
Workforce Development: equipping job-seekers for future industry
Communities, companies and developers must be flexible and nimble in order to sustain a vibrant and growing economy. For St. Tammany to attract and retain businesses with local, regional and global impacts, we must anticipate the needs of these companies and prepare our area to accommodate them. At the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, our chief tools for business attraction and retention are site development and workforce development. While site development and site availability typically play the biggest role in business attraction, workforce development serves as the glue between attraction and retention, addressing the needs of companies interested in relocating to St. Tammany and of companies already enjoying success here. Through our workforce development initiatives, we assess progress and advancements within our target industries and work with local and regional partners to respond, predicting the best course of action to situate our community for prosperity. Our annual Workforce Development Series supports all these efforts, acting as the base from 112
Julie Landry is the Communications Specialist at the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation.