State approves plans to meet worker demand

The Louisiana Workforce Investment Council approved a detailed plan Tuesday on how to help the state meet the impending demand for skilled crafts workers.

WIC, a panel of business leaders that advises the governor and the Louisiana Workforce Commission on the state’s workforce needs, approved the plan, “Building Louisiana’s Craft Workforce.”

The plan was developed by a coalition of business, industry, labor unions and government organizations who worked together for several months.

The state has a need for an additional 86,300 skilled craft workers by 2016 to build the nearly $60 billion in new petrochemical and chemical plants and plant expansions proposed in the state.

The plan includes a number of facets, from making sure that Pell Grants can be used to pay for training classes at community and technical colleges, to having career counselors work with middle and high school students so they consider careers in the industrial construction industry, to getting more state money to pay for worker training.

The state plans to join with the Build Your Future Initiative, a national program that
seeks to increase the number of construction workers.

Promotional material that discusses the good wages available for skilled construction workers has been developed.

A website, http://www.
louisiana.byf.org, will be launched.

WIC also approved revised occupational forecasts.

The new forecasts indicate that Louisiana will need nearly 78,000 new workers each year e_SClB through 2020 to fill all of the jobs that are expected to be available.

The LWC notes that this 1.6 percent annual job growth rate is better than the national forecast of 1.5 percent.

“The data is clear: there are and will continue to be plenty of jobs available to Louisiana residents,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the state workforce commission.