Louisiana's industry off to a fast start
Formed in the crucible of Louisiana's hurricane recovery and the nation's recession, LED FastStart® debuted in 2008 as a robust solution to help expanding employers assemble a well-trained workforce from day one.
The results were stunning. Gardner Denver, a Fortune 1000 compressor and pump manufacturer, discovered FastStart's bottom-line potential and reversed plans to close a Monroe, La., facility. Instead, the company closed a larger plant in Wisconsin and expanded in Louisiana, boosting Monroe employment from 70 to 300, including contract workers. Coordinating 30 product line transfers, FastStart ramped up the larger workforce and immediately improved Gardner Denver's profitability.
Two years and dozens of clients later, Business Facilities deemed LED FastStart "the gold standard for workforce training solutions." For four consecutive years, the publication has named LED FastStart the No. 1 state workforce program in the U.S.
To date, the program, housed in Louisiana Economic Development, has trained more than 18,000 individual workers and provided 226,000 hours of training at no cost to the more than 100 companies served.
"We created LED FastStart® to give companies the confidence that they can recruit highly talented employees in Louisiana, but also so that we can comprehensively train those employees in a very short period of time," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
LED FastStart assists expanding Louisiana employers in target industries. FastStart training and technology professionals first immerse themselves in a client's culture, getting to know the company inside out. From there, comprehensive solutions are forged for recruiting, screening and training new employees in expansion and relocation projects.
FastStart's current projects include Central Louisiana steel fabricator Hayes Manufacturing, Southwest Louisiana LNG exporter Cheniere Energy, a Fortune 500 technology headquarters expansion by CenturyLink in Northeast Louisiana, an oil and gas steel manufacturing plant by Benteler Steel/Tube in Northwest Louisiana and two methanol production plants being built by Methanex south of Baton Rouge.
"This training service provided by FastStart is a quantum level different than what you would assume you would be getting," said CEO Dan Feibus, who heads South Louisiana textile manufacturer Zagis USA.
"I would say you'd be absolutely crazy not to chase FastStart down and try to get those guys to work with you," said Ed Scram, president of energy pipeline fabricator Stupp Corp. in Baton Rouge.