Manufacturing Day Event Reminds Us of the Importance of Retaining Louisiana Workforce Talent
As any Louisianan who's watched TV recently or paid attention to the governor's race will tell you, growing and future-proofing the state's economy is a universal concern for those on the bayou.
An issue we've covered in conjunction with our friends at the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is the terrible problem of outmigration in LA. It's a sad fact that our best and brightest are often choosing not to stay in the state.
There are many reasons, but chief among them is economic opportunity - or lack thereof. The simple truth is that kids grow up thinking that in order to make a good living and work in a desirable field, they are almost forced to go out of state.
Our neighbors in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and even Arkansas are staking their claim on high-quality Louisiana human capital to the detriment of our communities.
It's an issue that must be addressed at all levels - from education and government to the private sector and non-profits.
In a refreshing sign of commitment to nurturing and retaining Louisiana talent today, the Manufacturing Institute hosted the national 2023 Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) kickoff celebration at the River Parishes Community College (RPCC) – Gonzales Campus today.
MFG Day is an annual initiative aimed at connecting students with manufacturing companies to change the perception of the industry.
This sprawling event brought over 500 hundred school children to the campus of RPCC to explore manufacturing careers and training programs available in their community firsthand.
Carolyn Lee, President and Executive Director of the Manufacturing Institute, highlighted the importance of the event, stating, "We are excited to work with BASF and RPCC to bring the national MFG Day kickoff celebration to students across Ascension Parish. There is a place for everyone in manufacturing, and today's kickoff event underscores the opportunities for America's future workforce available right here in Louisiana."
Louisiana State Representative Ken Brass (and BASF employee) also championed the event, saying, "When you have national organizations such as the Manufacturing Institute partnering with companies like BASF to deliver hands-on learning experiences for our local school children, we all benefit. Highlighting the endless possibilities for careers in manufacturing allows our children to envision successful future careers with limitless possibilities."
According to recent statistics, there have been 6,432 manufacturing job openings year-to-date in Louisiana and 8,640 over the past 12 months. The state's unemployment rate stands at 3.3%, and in August, there were 138,500 manufacturing employees in Louisiana, marking a 3,100 increase over the past year.
With inflation on the rise, higher education tuition soaring, and the general sense that Louisiana is lacking opportunity, showing young Louisianans the opportunity available right in their backyard is a great step in our state's economic comeback.
The fact that BASF and the National Association of Manufacturers are committed to Louisiana is a good sign for the viability of LA, and we're glad to see it.