Grasping the precise training needs of employers lies at the heart of workforce development, but being able to adapt that training to any workplace in the world defines the extraordinary capacity of LED FastStart® – Louisiana’s customized workforce solutions program.
At times, FastStart’s approach involves trotting the globe to analyze the essential business operations of companies looking to relocate to Louisiana, and using that analysis to help the companies perform at a higher level. That capability explains why FastStart represents such a potent weapon in Louisiana’s business development arsenal and why it’s recognized as the best state workforce program in the U.S.
“Companies have concerns about whether they can transfer technology from one part of the world to another,” said Jeff Lynn, LED’s executive director of workforce development programs. “We’re able to help them bring their technology here, but we have the added ability of also improving on existing procedures for companies that locate in Louisiana.”
FastStart’s international business-analysis travel includes a recent trip to the Caribbean island of Trinidad on behalf of North Carolina-based Nucor Corp., which is developing a $3.4 billion iron-and-steel manufacturing project in Louisiana’s St. James Parish.
Nucor operates a similar facility in Trinidad. FastStart’s experts spent a week at the Trinidad plant documenting daily operations and processes, and crafted a comprehensive, site-specific recruiting, screening and training initiative for the company’s new Louisiana site.
Said Lynn: “It’s not just a matter of seeing and documenting existing processes, but also looking for an opportunity to improve on them through new technology or processes.”
FastStart is a free, comprehensive program for new and expanding companies who meet project criteria in Louisiana. The program includes an in-depth review of essential work processes and documentation, development of company-specific procedures and course materials, delivery of training, and ongoing feedback and evaluation for continuous improvements to the training process.
The Caribbean trip is just one example of FastStart’s globetrotting business analysis. FastStart staff also traveled to France to document the last phases of satellite assembly at the behest of satellite-maker Globalstar, which relocated to Covington, La., from California’s Silicon Valley.
More recently, FastStart’s workforce experts traveled to New Zealand to capture the detailed daily processes and workplace culture of a plant operated by Canada-based Methanex, the world’s largest methanol producer.
The trip represented a fusion of international initiatives on several levels. Methanex is taking apart and transporting an existing Chilean plant for reassembly and operation in Geismar, La. But Methanex wanted to use the culture and processes of its New Zealand plant for its reassembled Louisiana facility. To help Methanex do that, FastStart’s Lynn spent a week in New Zealand in May documenting essential daily processes from employee screening to engineering, maintenance operations and information technology.
As with other analysis trips, the effort involved looking for ways to improve.
“We don’t just capture and document procedures, we also actively look for ways to improve those processes to achieve maximum efficiency when they locate here,” Lynn said.