Parish using survey to attract businesses


March 19, 2008 at 11:35 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

St. Charles Parish is joining three other economic development organizations in undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the local labor market to give companies interested in coming into the area an idea of what that market could support.

The employer survey will provide a snapshot of the labor-related issues, assets and challenges important to area businesses. The data will be used by the participating parishes to enhance business retention and expansion efforts, as well as provide recommendations to better serve area residents. The study will also consider employers' issues in order to plan for future growth.

It will cost $75,000.

“There is a need for us to conduct a study considering the low unemployment rate and changes to the labor market since Katrina,” Corey Faucheux, director of the department of economic development and tourism, said. “We will benefit by having the data to ensure existing and relocating businesses that the local labor market area can satisfy their workforce needs.” 

The survey will be sent to major employers, along with those that represent a cross section of the area's business sectors, and will ask questions about labor-related issues such as availability, opinions on labor quality, wage environment and training resources.

The results of the survey will be combined with a another survey of the area's residents to understand key characteristics of the local labor force and to gauge the “underemployment” market in the tri-parish region. 

Underemployment is used to describe the condition of workers who are overqualified for their current jobs.

“Considering the extremely low unemployment we are currently experiencing and the current anticipated demand for labor, businesses have to be assured that the area can adequately supply a qualified workforce,” Faucheux said. “To the point of tapping into the labor pool of those that are currently employed.”

For the analysis to succeed, the group is asking that employers watch for and complete a confidential survey that will arrive by mail. Responses will form a foundation of research on the depth, quality and cost of the area's labor force. 

Area employers will receive questionnaires by mail the week of March 17 and will have until April 10 to complete them.  Employers can also access the survey on the parish's Web site at www.stcharlesgov.net or www.wadley-donovan.com/riverparishessurvey. Local residents are scheduled to be surveyed the first week of April.

St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said the effort is essential to his economic development vision. 

“In order for us to have a successful economic development program, we have to assure relocating and existing companies that our labor pool can provide an abundant supply of qualified employees,” he said. “This study will provide the critical data companies are seeking.”

The Louisiana Department of Economic Development is sharing the $75,000 cost of the study with RREDI. The Wadley-Donovan Group, a national workforce development consulting firm, and St. Charles Parish-based Workforce Alliance, are conducting the study.

The River Region Economic Development Initiative is an economic development alliance encompassing St. Charles, St. John and St. James parishes formed to spearhead economic growth in the region.

For more information contact Corey Faucheux, Director of Economic Development & Tourism, at (985) 783-5140 or cfaucheux@stcharlesgov.net.   




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