Benteler Deal Is Great For Bossier and All of Area
Coming on the heals of the closure of the GM plant, last month’s announcement that German manufacturer Benteler Steel/Tube selected the Port of Caddo-Bossier as home to its first US production facility creates a wealth of economic positives for northwest Louisiana.
The planned $900 million, 1.35 million square foot facility is anticipated to create over 1,000 construction jobs and nearly 700 full time jobs when the plant is at full capacity. In addition, it’s anticipated that a number of spin-off jobs will be created as suppliers and other service providers meet plant needs.
And, as Sean Green’s November 19 article “New $22 Mil Facility at BPCC” detailed this as an enterprise that just keeps on giving with the construction of the $22 million training facility at one of the area’s fastest growing higher ed campuses. While Bossier City, Bossier Parish, and the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation (GBEDF) are collectively contributing $1 million for construction site improvements, the training facility will be built by the state as part of the incentive package that brought Benteler to Louisiana.
Green’s article also pointed out that in addition to housing specialized equipment focused on manufacturing technology, the training “facility will serve as a defacto regional office for Louisiana Economic Development (LED) FastStart personnel …”
But watersheds such as Benteler Steel/Tube don’t just happen, they’re the result of comprehensive and long-term work on the part of the manufacturer and the state governments to achieve the best fit for both. As part of Louisiana’s strategy for business development, LED’s FastStart program is a big contributor to the economic incentives that draw new business and industry to consider a Louisiana location.
LED’s FastStart program was highlighted in an August 27, 2011 “The Economist” article:
“Probably the most notable workforce-development initiative comes from Louisiana. Its FastStart programme, launched in 2008, helps companies recruit and train workers – free for the employers, subject to eligibility requirements and as long as they commit to creating a modest number of new jobs. Business Facilities, a trade publication, calls it the “gold standard” for workforce training.”
Some folks may recall the casino industry’s entry into the Louisiana market in the mid-1990s and the thousands of jobs created – but when it came to training this new workforce, there was nothing comparable to what LED’s FastStart program can offer to business and industry today.
Then GBEDF executive director Don Pierson, during an interview about just what drew the casino industry to northwest Louisiana, explained that our area had a “trainable workforce.”
By and large, the industry did its own training. FastStart likely makes such a circumstance a relic of past economic development efforts.
In addition to housing the Benteler Steel/Tube training center, and a local FastStart delegation, the new facility will also include BPCC’s oil/gas and industrial engineering programs.
Look for the benefits from Benteler Steel/Tube to coninue – and thank some dedicated people at Louisiana Economic Development and other state officials for bringing it to northwest Louisiana.