Manufacturing jobs are making a come back says NLEP, SBI shows t - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Manufacturing jobs are making a come back says NLEP, SBI shows trend

Posted: Updated:
 Job growth in manufacturing seems to be on the rise in Louisiana. 

Just in June, the North Louisiana Economic Partnership and others announced Dallas based SB International will invest $32 million dollars to upgrade and expand its recently purchased Bossier City plant. They'll manufacture pipes for the oil industry and create 82 new jobs there. NLEP says 18 economic development projects have been closed by them since 2013. A majority of those projects have been manufacturing based. Take it as a sign for better economic times for North Louisiana. 

Related Story: Gov. Jindal announces SB International's Bossier City investment

The SBI's announcement it will expand subsidiary Centric Pipe in Bossier City supports a trend of manufacturers moving into the area. NLEP says its 14 parish area has traits that attract jobs. Being in a 'right to work' state, the low cost of doing business and the local workforce are only some of those job attracting traits. 

Satish Gupta, SBI's CEO, says the Centric Pipe investment is his company's first for a manufacturing facility in the US. Bossier City was chosen for a number of reasons. Location being primary. Centric Pipe's location in the I-20 and 49 corridor makes it easy to transport product to markets that use it the most. Gupta says those markets are Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. Christine Rambo, with NLEP, says local and state leaders have become more aware about our economic potential.

"I think what we've seen is a shift in our mindset to be much more proactive and to work together as a team to seek economic opportunity for our region," Rambo said.

An example of this work is the local manufacturing workforce. Gupta was impressed. The workforce and its potential helped attract SBI.

"We are very excited, and I think we are very convinced that we can get a good labor force with a highly trained background," Rambo said.

Rambo points to Louisiana Economic Development's FastStart program or Bossier Parish Community College's Industrial Readiness Program. Millions have been generated to create the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology at BPCC. The center's job is to generate and train Benteler Steel a quality workforce. The plan is to expand to other industries in the future.

"That was the key centerpiece that recruited Benteler Steel to here," Rambo said. "If you ask their executives why they chose Northwest Louisiana, that was the main reason, because they knew they could be successful here."

State and local cash and tax incentives have also helped recruit Benteler, SBI and others. SBI is getting a $2 million performance grant from the state for a rail spur for its Bossier City plant. It will benefit from LED FastStart and may get major tax breaks. Those breaks will come through the Louisiana Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. Gupta says these types of incentives make Louisiana more attractive than Texas for manufacturing.

"We were really surprised to see the amount of interest and the incentives," Gupta said. "When I say incentive, I mean the infrastructure that Louisiana Economic Development Board is offering."

Related Story: Technology company proves NW Louisiana can offer more than manufacturing 

Rambo says the spike in interest in Northwest Louisiana will help NLEP attract more jobs and investments. Those manufacturing projects since 2013 have created 2,500 new jobs in North Louisiana. That is a total cash investment of nearly a billion dollars. This doesn't include Benteler Steel, which was announced back in 2012.

  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File