PATTERSON: Building Pathways to Success in Louisiana
Louisiana’s job market is strong. Job openings number in the tens of thousands. Employers across our state are doing everything they can to invest in and grow the workforce they need—especially manufacturers. In fact, Louisiana manufacturers are partnering with a national campaign called Creators Wanted to build the manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow.
While Louisiana is already striving to build its workforce, there is much more we must do to ensure all Louisianans have access to the education and training required for success. That’s why the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is such a staunch supporter of a cradle-to-career system. That, of course, means investments in early childhood and K-12 education, but we also believe students need a greater range of options as they progress through their education. Such a broad range of options would make it more likely that students can develop the skills and certifications that make them a good fit for jobs that are highly in demand right now. LABI routinely advocates for enhancing access to post-secondary education—not just traditional college and university systems, but technical and community colleges, as well as special workforce training and vocational programs.
Most of the jobs in highest demand in Louisiana are in modern manufacturing. Our state has a vibrant manufacturing sector, with well-known brands located in many parishes. And careers with these manufacturers are some of the most rewarding and exciting ones imaginable. Louisiana manufacturers are responsible for the creation of nearly every product we use in our lives, whether it’s the food and beverages we consume, cars we drive, equipment and devices we use at work, life-saving medicines to stay healthy, or raw materials and components that make such products possible. And manufacturing jobs pay more than most, making a manufacturing job a perfect springboard for a prosperous, lifelong career.
You may be wondering, “What makes somebody a good fit for a manufacturing career?” Manufacturers need people who dream big and think creatively. Just as importantly, they need people who’ve begun to develop the skills that can help them succeed in the industry. A big part of that is STEM education, technical skills, and certifications—the kind we are hoping more young people will acquire through a cradle-to-career education system. However, one must also hone important “soft skills,” such as how to work as part of a team, leadership abilities, resume building, and other competencies one does not always obtain in school.
To help with all of this, LABI is partnering with leading manufacturers from across our state, along with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute (NAM’s workforce development and education affiliate), as well as FactoryFix, Dow, and Union Pacific, to bring the Creators Wanted Tour to the greater Baton Rouge area beginning Monday, April 24 at River Parishes Community College—Westside Campus.
The tour is an incredibly immersive look at modern manufacturing that allows students and other visitors to put their problem-solving skills to the test while they meet with manufacturing teams that can show them what it’s like to work in this exciting industry. And even after the tour moves on, students and jobseekers can visit creatorswanted.org to access Creators Connect, a platform for manufacturing career pathways, job openings, and job training programs.
The future for Louisiana’s workforce is promising and bright. Our investments in education, in training, and in giving more Louisianans a chance to succeed will make our economy stronger. And the creators Louisiana manufacturing wants and needs will be leading the pack.
Jim Patterson is Interim President & CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
To learn more about Creators Wanted or register for the event in Plaquemine, LA on April 26, visit https://www.creatorswanted.org/events/creators-wanted-in-baton-rouge-la/.