Each day over 5,400 people in Ouachita Parish go to work in manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing is a key economic driver for the parish with an annual payroll of almost $300 million. In fact, one out of every twelve private sector jobs in Ouachita Parish are in the manufacturing field. Manufacturers throughout Northeast Louisiana make a wide variety of products including paperboard, chemicals, specialty pumps, food and plastic products among many other goods.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance want to spotlight area manufacturing firms. They join cities and county governments across the nation who will recognize the contributions that modern manufacturing makes to their communities over the next two weeks.
On September 27th and 28th high school students throughout Ouachita Parish and Northeast Louisiana will have the opportunity to learn more about manufacturing careers when fifteen area industries and manufacturers open their doors for tours. Seven Ouachita Parish and Monroe City high schools and six Northeast Louisiana High Schools are participating in the event. Many of these students are enrolled in Jump Start and plan to pursue a career in Manufacturing. The event is sponsored by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Delta Community College, Monroe City Schools, Ouachita Parish Schools, and the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance.
Students will travel from their school to two different manufacturers for guided plant tours. Following the tour, they will travel to one of the Louisiana Delta Community College campuses to tour that facility and to have the opportunity for hands on experience on some of the equipment used in manufacturing. Tours will be hosted by ANGUS Chemical, Graphic Packaging, Plymouth Tube, Steel Fabricators, Gardner Denver Thomas, James Machine Works, Neighbor’s Cookies, Allied Building Stores, Monroe Water Treatment Plant, Sapa, Lamb Weston, Mueller, Drax BioMass, Mid South Extrusion and Bancroft Bag.
The program was inspired by Manufacturing Day which is supported by an organization of industry co-sponsors nationwide. It is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and to create a chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. One of their biggest challenges is to address the shortage in skilled labor that every industry and manufacturer is facing today. The tour provides an opportunity to show students, parents, educators, and their communities, what is really happening in modern manufacturing.