Louisiana wins international awards for economic development

The International Economic Development Council, or IEDC, recognized Louisiana Economic Development’s Community Competitiveness and LED FastStart® divisions for outstanding performance at the recent IEDC Annual Conference. Held virtually and hosted from Dallas, the 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Awards showcased the best of organizations around the world.

In the Neighborhood and Retail Development category, LED’s Community Competitiveness office earned an IEDC Silver Award for certifying dozens of communities in the Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program, or LDRC. In the Partnerships with Educational Institutions category, LED FastStart® earned an IEDC Silver Award for leading higher education partnerships statewide in support of the DXC Technology project. LED FastStart also received an IEDC Bronze Award in the Talent Development and Retention category for its partnership with Boeing and Nunez Community College.

“This recognition is a tremendous honor for Louisiana, and well-deserved recognition for the LED teams that secured such outstanding results,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “It’s an honor to lead such a talented and dedicated team, and we all consider ourselves privileged to serve Louisiana businesses large and small, our culturally rich communities, and the people of Louisiana. These awards represent strong partnerships and collaborations among the LED team and businesses, chambers, economic development organizations, elected officials, higher education officials and more.”

LED’s Community Competitiveness work guides municipalities and parishes, through a strategic planning and implementation process, to be development-ready for new business investment and job creation. From establishing leadership to assessing the community’s strengths and weaknesses, the LDRC Program helps community members develop a vision, goals and action steps. They implement a plan that takes into consideration sustainability of the community economic development effort. To date, 43 Louisiana communities have been certified.

“Louisiana’s economic assets stretch to every corner of the state and all points in between, and we are committed to ensuring that our communities align these resources and are in a position of readiness to attract new investments,” said Executive Director Patrick Witty of LED Community Competitiveness and Small Business Services. “We are honored that these efforts are worthy of such recognition by the IEDC, and we share this award with all of the communities who have partnered with us to prepare for continued growth.”

LED FastStart designed its award-winning partnership with higher education to support technology companies in Louisiana and connect them with a highly qualified talent pool. LED FastStart announced its collaboration with the state’s four public higher education systems to produce graduates in support of DXC Technology’s New Orleans Digital Transformation Center. The initiative funds faculty, curricular and program enhancements to deliver a pool of qualified candidates screened against employer core skills and attributes.

LED FastStart’s additional award recognizes its support of Boeing, as the aerospace manufacturer produces NASA’s most-powerful rocket ever at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. To support Boeing’s recruitment and development of qualified talent, FastStart analyzed national aerospace programs and determined what type of equipment, tooling, facilities, skills and curriculum were needed to implement a new Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Program at Nunez Community College in Chalmette.

“Such recognition from the IEDC is a testament to the success of these programs and the hard work of the LED FastStart team members who facilitate and sustain them,” said Executive Director Paul Helton of LED FastStart. “It is an honor to lead such a talented team, and this recognition of our hard work is the latest in a long series of accomplishments for LED FastStart. As always, we will not rest on our laurels, but rather innovate new techniques and ideas to foster strong partnerships and prepare the Louisiana workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The latest IEDC awards continue a trend of economic development success for LED. In 2019, LED’s Small Business Services team earned the IEDC Gold Award for Entrepreneurship. That award recognized LED for delivering the profession’s best suite of small business services within IEDC’s largest population category.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from multiple countries.

“LED’s work in neighborhood and community development is exemplary, with a track record of preparing over 40 municipalities and parishes to improve their ability to compete for jobs and investment through the Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program,” said IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle, CEcD. “We also recognize the great work that LED FastStart is accomplishing through its education institutions and talent development and retention initiatives. Workforce innovation is central to economic growth, and Louisiana is in good hands with LED FastStart.”

About IEDC
The International Economic Development Council is the world’s largest membership organization for economic development professionals. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life in their communities by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC members represent the entire range of economic development. For more information, visit IEDConline.org.

About LED
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant Louisiana economy. LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana, and promotes business opportunity for employers of all sizes. In 2019, LED attracted more than 80 new economic development projects representing 12,300 new jobs, 15,500 retained jobs and over $8.4 billion in new capital investment. LED’s Small Business Services team assisted more than 10,700 Louisiana small businesses and entrepreneurs in 2019. For more information, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com.