Since launching in 2008, LED FastStart® has attracted widespread acclaim for innovative solutions that help expanding Louisiana companies quickly add qualified staff and has fundamentally changed Louisiana’s ability to attract new investment across diverse sectors. In 2012, FastStart once again outpaced Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Texas, earning a No. 1 ranking from Business Facilities magazine for fielding the top state workforce training program in the nation.
FastStart has completed nearly 70 projects in just four years and has been cited by CEOs and site selectors as a key factor in their decision to locate in Louisiana.
The program provides turnkey workforce solutions at no cost to qualifying companies that expand or establish new sites in the state. Using innovative recruitment tools to find exceptional job candidates, FastStart creates customized training programs on high-tech platforms. The programs instruct employees on day-to-day tasks while also imparting the company’s corporate values. FastStart’s detailed, tailored approach ensures companies are ready to open on day one.
“FastStart continues to be the gold standard for workforce training programs, which increasingly are an essential element in successful economic development projects,” says Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers. “Businesses relocating to Louisiana can be certain they will have strong support from the state in acquiring and training skilled workers.”
Jeff Lynn, LED’s executive director of workforce development programs, says a number of factors set FastStart apart from peers. “One is that we work with a whole host of companies and different employees within those companies,” he says. “We don’t only focus on hourly workers or on the manufacturing sector. We’re able to work with a wide range of sectors and types of employees. It’s quite unique.”
FastStart’s staff includes 32 full-time and approximately 100 independent contractors with strong private sector experience, says Lynn.
“We’re working in the digital media and software development sector with a company like GE Capital, which recently selected New Orleans for its new Technology Center,” Lynn says. “We’re helping them in national recruitment and are working closely with our two- and four-year schools to keep a pipeline of qualified workers flowing.”
FastStart also is developing a strategy to fill about 40,000 new construction jobs, the result of $50 billion in projected new industrial projects. FastStart is collaborating with others to create a model for filling those jobs statewide.
Lynn says a seamless partnership of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, LED, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and the State Board of Regents has created a dynamic workforce development environment.
The No. 1 ranking has helped FastStart attract new attention from site selectors globally, some of whom had not yet considered Louisiana, Lynn says.
“It’s really catapulted us,” he says. “World-class companies understand the need to provide these solutions quickly and relevantly. We are a state agency, but we run like a business.”