Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Speaker touts regional approach to economic development
- 2013 - 962 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
- December 2008 - 146 articles
- November 2008 - 147 articles
- October 2008 - 232 articles
- September 2008 - 189 articles
- August 2008 - 126 articles
- July 2008 - 147 articles
- June 2008 - 111 articles
- May 2008 - 147 articles
- April 2008 - 141 articles
- April 30th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 7 articles
- April 29th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- April 28th, 2008 (Monday) - 1 articles
- April 27th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- April 25th, 2008 (Friday) - 1 articles
- April 24th, 2008 (Thursday) - 15 articles
- April 23rd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- April 22nd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 3 articles
- April 20th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- April 18th, 2008 (Friday) - 2 articles
- April 17th, 2008 (Thursday) - 18 articles
- April 16th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- April 15th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- April 14th, 2008 (Monday) - 2 articles
- April 13th, 2008 (Sunday) - 2 articles
- April 11th, 2008 (Friday) - 8 articles
- April 10th, 2008 (Thursday) - 4 articles
- April 9th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 12 articles
- April 8th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- April 7th, 2008 (Monday) - 2 articles
- April 6th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- April 5th, 2008 (Saturday) - 4 articles
- April 3rd, 2008 (Thursday) - 19 articles
- April 2nd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- April 1st, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- March 2008 - 125 articles
- February 2008 - 135 articles
- January 2008 - 111 articles
|Speaker touts regional approach to economic development|
Small communities such as those throughout northeast Louisiana must retool their economic development game plans if they hope to survive in the global economy, according to an economic development consultant who spoke recently in Monroe.
Dr. Robert Pittman was one of four speakers during the 2008 business outlook summit held at CenturyTel March 28. He is the executive director of Strategic Growth and Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas. He also has been a consultant for Lockwood Greene.
Pittman told an audience packed with northeast Louisiana's business leaders that manufacturing jobs within the United States will continue to decline as manufacturing companies compete in the global marketplace. Small communities hoping to land good manufacturing companies are often at a disadvantage, but Pittman says there are many success stories for those who have changed their economic development game plans to include a more regional approach.
"If you don't retool your communities and make them development ready, you are not going to be successful in economic development," he said.
"Small-town companies do face global competition, and that is here to stay. The future isn't manufacturing, as least not traditional manufacturing, but there is other manufacturing."
He said the future of manufacturing is advanced manufacturing and to acquire those high-paying jobs, a community will need to have a skilled workforce in place to attract a manufacturer.
Advanced manufacturing includes a variety of businesses operating worldwide, such as those that produce hybrid automobiles and high-tech communications technology.
Communities must push for more workforce development to have skilled workers in place, which could draw those kinds of companies, Pittman said.
"If you don't have a skilled labor force, then you don't really have a labor force at all. Businesses are starved for skilled labor, but they can't expand because some communities don't have the labor force. Companies want to employ in this region over the next five years, but the labor force is not there. If your community is not involved in workforce development, then it is not involved in economic development," he said.
Pittman said a community is only as strong as its weakest link. To improve its chances of attracting more companies, Pittman said community leaders must find that weakest link and build upon it.
"You might have a good site and a job-ready labor force, but companies look at much more than that," Pittman continued. "They look at the school systems and the quality of life. When a company is down to the last few communities for them to select, if you don't have all of these things, you probably won't be picked."
The best way for communities to attract business and industry is to have a regional approach, according to Pittman. He said company officials look at the surrounding communities to determine if they cooperate well with each other. If they do, that always impresses them.
"When it comes to economic development, you all need to cooperate with each other," he said. "If any new employer comes into the region, everyone wins. It doesn't matter where their facility is. You will have employees who live in different parts of the region. They will buy houses and pump up the economy."
Pittman pointed to the success of the Tupelo, Miss., region where several counties came together, built a regional mega site and invested in workforce development. That approach won over many manufacturing companies, and Pittman says the Tupelo community is "set for the next 50 years."
"They have a wonderful regional approach that's a power to behold," he said. "I have seen countless communities come together and figure out how to solve their problems and move forward, and many of them had serious challenges with location and economic development."
Louisiana Tech's Dr. John Francis says it is no secret that northeast Louisiana is a low-wage area, so the region must increase its workforce development efforts to add more skilled workers to the labor force.
"We have low wages because we have a low-skilled labor force," Francis said. "Education and wages are linked, and skilled manufacturer workers will be the future of this country."
University of Louisiana-Monroe economist Dr. Bob Eisenstadt says the declining population in northeast Louisiana is its biggest nemesis. He said population decline is a symptom of a void of employment opportunities which could create a shortage in labor and lead to more weaknesses.
However, he said if northeast Louisiana lands the proposed tenant for the former Guide plant, the economic situation for the region will improve greatly.
"But talk about that has been inconspicuously quiet whereas months ago talk about it was all the rage," Eisenstadt said.
In January, then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco hinted that an automobile assembly plant was ready to move into the former Guide plant. She said that plant would initially employ 200 people and could employ 800 within five years.
During recent visits to the region, Gov. Bobby Jindal said that prospect was still on the radar, but he said was it was far from a done deal.