In his inaugural address Shreveport mayor Adrian Perkins promised to push for smart city initiatives and to push for more technology jobs for the city. His first step was to name Keith Hanson as the city’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
In his first few weeks, Hanson has made significant progress is evaluating the current state of technology in the city’s many departments. He has also provided a wealth of knowledge to the Future of Shreveport technology Committee in its two meetings. Hanson is a committee member.
Perkins and Hanson have now planned a SMART CITY WORKFORCE ANALYSIS workshop. It will be held Mar. 12 at the Shreveport Convention Center.
The workshop will host representatives from Shreveport’s technology sector to identify skill gaps in the labor market for entry-level workers. This analysis of workforce needs is the first step in developing a well-trained technology workforce.
The city has partnered with Step Forward, the International Youth Foundation, the Northwest Louisiana Economic Partnership, the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and the Bossier Chamber of Commerce for this workshop.
CTO Hanson has invited employers of “technologists” to attend. He defines that as programmers, networking , security related, system administration, and database workers. Registration is required. The input from the seminar will be utilized to develop a plan to train and educate the city’s workforce.
“This is step one in developing a long-term, sustainable economy,” said Mayor Adrian Perkins. “We have to invest in our workforce, so we can compete with other cities in the region. This workshop will help make Shreveport more competitive,” the Mayor included.
Perkins has recognized that the days of large manufacturing employers in Shreveport is basically over and the dreams of a new GM type plant are probably just that….dreams.
Shreveport citizens need many employment opportunities , and not just for college graduates. This workshop can lead to more options for the so-called “blue collar” worker.
All economic development experts identity workforce development as a key component in recruiting businesses. This is also true for expansion of existing businesses.
Increasing employment options for Shreveport citizens is important to the overall vitality of the city. At the same time, the city must become more competitive for companies looking to locate in Shreveport.
“This workshop will provide us with critical information - local employers’ needs,” says Laura Alderman, Executive Director of Step Forward. “That information will drive efforts to create strategic workforce development opportunities for our community’s youth, and the net result will be that more young adults will have opportunities for sustainable, living wage jobs right here in this community.”
(This article was published in The Inquisitor on Thursday, March 7, 2019)