As more and more companies began to identify Louisiana as a great place to do business, it became apparent to state officials that Louisiana would need to be competitive in recruiting highly-skilled talent and providing training programs for the state’s workforce. The state needed an organization to design and deliver customized recruitment programs, and LED FastStart® was just the team to do it. Established in 2008, LED FastStart works with prospective and existing companies to identify workforce solutions to develop and recruit the best talent possible. LED FastStart Executive Director Jeff Lynn shares this innovation story:
[Q] What inspired the launch of LED FastStart?
[A] Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret recognized that, for Louisiana to be competitive in attracting and retaining companies, they need a workforce team that would custom design and deliver world-class recruitment and training programs. When Secretary Moret called me about the job of building LED FastStart, it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. We were able to come into a new state and build a new world-class workforce program from scratch. At the time, Louisiana did not have any program in place to meet the workforce training needs of these companies.
[Q] What is LED FastStart doing that no other organization is doing?
[A] One of LED FastStart’s primary advantages over our competitors is our flexibility to find unique solutions to fit our clients’ needs. LED FastStart is not locked into specific curriculum, partners, or methodologies. This flexibility allows us to examine and implement the best solutions as opposed to the “best of what we have available.” Our competition is global, so we must provide the most effective and innovative services to our clients. But the next day we must improves on what we did the day before.
[Q] What unexpected advantages did LED FastStart benefit from that could only be found in Louisiana?
[A] Unique to other states’ workforce programs, LED FastStart is positioned under the arm of the department of economic development. This allowed LED FastStart to maintain the constant first-line with prospects and existing companies and truly identify workforce solutions. Under Louisiana Economic Development, FastStart has been able to work extremely efficiently with the K through 12, two-year and four-year schools. It allows FastStart to be more flexible in finding solutions for its client companies and significantly less mired in bureaucracy.
[Q] When did you realize that LED FastStart would be a success?
[A] We always believed it would be a success from day one. When you run your state organization like a business and hire the best people to work in your organization, you can reach any goals imaginable. Immediately we were able to show our new prospects and their site selectors an instant credibility that we will provide them a strong, talented, competent workforce.
[Q] What would you say to aspiring Louisiana entrepreneurs and innovators?
[A] If you are looking for a location to start your aspirational dreams, then come to Louisiana. Visit us and challenge us with your concerns, and take a more in-depth look at everything Louisiana has to offer. Sure, Louisiana has the infrastructure, resources and workforce, but, more importantly, Louisiana has the initiative to find flexible and effective solutions for a new company’s needs. Additionally, Louisiana has extremely smart, talented and dedicated employees and entrepreneurs.