Amazon Layoffs Not Expected to Impact Baton Rouge Project, BRAC Says

Business Report

Recently announced layoffs at Amazon are not expected to change the company’s commitment to its planned facility in Baton Rouge, says Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. 

Amazon is in the process of building a fulfillment center at the former site of Cortana Mall that it has said would employ at least 1,000 people. According to the company’s previous public statements, it would begin operating this year. 

In a memo made public today, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced plans to lay off 9,000 employees in the coming weeks, on top of 18,000 layoffs announced previously. 

Knapp spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club today, focusing much of his time on BRAC’s “talent-driven economic development strategy.” While the Capital Region in recent years has seen more people move in than move out, the opposite is true for those ages 25-44, he says. 

Part of bolstering the pipeline of young talent will involve helping connect high school seniors with internship opportunities. BRAC has set a goal of helping at least 1,000 students find internships this year. Employers interested in participating can learn more at BRAC’s website; the deadline for summer internships is April 17. 

Other topics he touched on:

  • While BRAC touts transitional energy as a growing sector that will help further diversify the region’s economy, those projects tend to involve an element of carbon capture, which is facing growing grassroots concern. The chamber can help local officials connect with experts who can explain the science, Knapp says. 
  • BRAC is part of a group discussing a potential local ordinance to crack down on blighted commercial signs. 
  • The chamber also is looking into organizing a for-profit redevelopment fund to invest in commercial blighted properties.
  • The Canadian Pacific/Kansas City Southern merger keeps plans for Baton Rouge-New Orleans commuter rail on track. 
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