The Louisiana Development Ready Communities (LDRC) Program encourages and supports selected Louisiana communities to become development ready, competitive and “open for business” by creating and implementing a strategic community and economic development plan. In 2009 and 2010, 19 communities participated in the LDRC Pilot Program. The Louisiana Development Ready Community program was officially launched in 2011 with 8 communities, and now has over 35 participating communities. These municipalities are all more competitive because they have a written plan describing how they are going to leverage assets and address challenges. Additionally, they can show progress from year to year because of developed measurements identified in their plans; much like mile-markers on a roadmap.
Each community’s plan includes strategies to address education, workforce development, infrastructure, leadership, and marketing/communications. The communities are in the process of implementing their tactics. “The real success of this project lies in the communities’ implementation of the plan,” said Pat Witty, Director of Community Competitiveness & Small Business Services. Each community must implement six elements of their plan by the end of the first year.
LED is moving forward to concentrate on sustainability issues and further refinements of the program. “We have learned so much about how to make this process valuable to communities. It is important that we implement the lessons learned so far to further ensure the sustainability of the program and its processes,” said Stacey Neal, Director of Community Competitiveness at LED.