Louisiana needs thousands more workers to meet industrial demand

10 31, 2013 by The Advocate

Many new industrial projects planned

Louisiana has tens of billions of dollars in industrial projects slated for the next few years that will require 86,300 more skilled workers than the state has now, company and government officials said Wednesday.

The shortage, which will be exacerbated by normal attrition rates for experienced blue collar workers, is a challenge. The projects, which will top $58 billion in the next few years, provide a chance to bring hundreds of thousands of Louisianans into a comfortable middle class life.

“I think the best news for us is this is the challenge we’ve been looking for,” said Curt Eysink, director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Eysink joined other public and private officials at a conference attended by about 500 in Lake Charles, just a few miles from the site of the largest private-sector developments ever announced in Louisiana — the $16 billion to $21 billion Sasol Ltd. ethane cracker and gas-to-liquids plant in Westlake.