Talent Initiatives Top BRAC’s 2022 Accomplishments

Regional EDO highlights major progress in first year of five-year strategic plan 

Baton Rouge, La. (December 27, 2022) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released key accomplishments achieved by the organization in 2022, the first year of its BRING IT! Baton Rouge strategic plan. The organization’s five-year plan can be viewed at brac.org/bringit

The BRING IT! strategy has four goals: bolster the region’s talent pipeline, diversify our industry base and job opportunities, create a more inclusive economy, and enhance our region’s livability.  

BRAC’s 2022 priorities for these goals included: 

  • Boosting efforts to find jobs and reskill for new careers; 
  • Retaining college talent; 
  • Aligning education institutions with business in key economic sectors; 
  • Connecting small businesses to resources and services for growth; 
  • Developing emerging industry clusters; 
  • Driving business investment to the region in emerging sectors like transitional energy and health/life sciences; 
  • Supporting the creation and growth of minority and women-owned businesses; 
  • Developing creative approaches to brighten up our area’s quality of place. 

“We started 2022 with the attitude to bring it for Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Area economy is on an upswing, experiencing its lowest unemployment rate in history. This was a solid first year for our new strategy when we were able to make progress on all four of BRAC’s top goals,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO. “We launched new initiatives on our talent strategy, while also creating a new minority business accelerator. The area saw $2.5 billion in capital investment, with unique momentum in the renewable energy sector, while also seeing hundreds of millions in funding for a new Mississippi River Bridge and its connectors. Each one of our goals and accomplishments keeps talent and quality of life top of mind. In today’s economic development strategies, talent is the top focus to competing with peer regions. We plan to continue with our talent-first approach as we enter the new year.” 

BRAC’s 2022 outcomes include: 

  • Bolster Our Region’s Talent Pipeline 
    • Launched BR Works, a comprehensive jobs portal for the Capital Region featuring skills-matching technology to connect job seekers with local jobs and regional training opportunities, ending its first year with 75,000 portal visitors and over 10,000 job listings viewed 
    • Launched the Talent Action Collaborative (TAC), a business and education initiative that seeks to align the career programs within education institutions with the current needs within five of the region’s dominant business sectors, modeled on national best practices for business-education collaboration  
    • Secured 150 high school student internships in career pathways outlined by the TAC businesses, in collaboration with EBR Schools, as part of a workforce development pilot project  
    • Secured a $2 million grant to support regional talent attraction, internship promotion, and local job seeker and area employer connection 
    • Increased the number of area businesses using Handshake, the largest online platform connecting employers with college students, by 32% for LSU and by 42% for Southern University 
    • Led a coalition to pass legislation to increase computer science in grades K-12, including a state plan, state standards, teacher training, and integration into TOPS 
    • Advocated for and secured the passage of universal credit transferability to improve students’ ability to transfer their college credits more easily between in-state two-year and four-year institutions 
    • Announced a partnership and hosted a sold-out young professional event with Forum 225, Baton Rouge’s largest young professionals’ organization, to better support the region’s young professionals through civic involvement and volunteerism 
    • Introduced prospective newcomers to the region with BRAC’s executive talent tours program
  • Diversify Our Industry Base & Job Opportunities 
    • Facilitated 12 new business entries to the market or expansions of existing businesses, representing 627 new direct jobs and $2.5 billion in capital investment 
    • Partnered with GNO Inc. on the H2theFuture Coalition, which was awarded $75 million in federal and state grant funding to promote economic opportunity through the decarbonization for the energy industry in south Louisiana 
    • Created the Baton Rouge Carbon Reduction Alliance to drive sustainable, economic growth by positioning the Capital Region as a leader in renewable and transitional energy  
    • Launched BRAC’s Small Business Services program, which assisted over 120 small businesses in the region in 2022 
    • Advocated for and secured the extension of the Quality Jobs and Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive programs to protect Louisiana’s economic development toolkit to best attract new investments and high-quality jobs with good benefits 
    • Created a regular entrepreneurial ecosystem roundtable to unify the region’s small business and entrepreneurship assistance providers for greater collaboration and resource sharing 
  • Create a More Inclusive Economy 
    • Launched the Drive Minority Business Accelerator powered by ExxonMobil, a year-long, cohort-style program with an inaugural class of 11 participants representing approximately $54.3 million in annual revenue 
    • Expanded BRAC’s annual diversity event to a half-day conference titled the Economic Inclusion Symposium including a vendor connection fair and keynote presentations 
    • Increased the number of qualified local vendors, a list of women, minority and veteran owned businesses, that are referred to the procurement opportunities for goods and services sought by the Baton Rouge Procurement Opportunity Partnership companies 
  • Enhance Our Region’s Livability 
    • Advocated for and secured $300 million in funding for a new Mississippi River South bridge crossing, along with a dedication of over $50 million a year for the next 30 years, and supporting the environmental process to secure the three final bridge locations, outlined on our website at brac.org/bridge 
    • Launched the Page/Rice Camera Initiative with the Baton Rouge Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice Foundation, an initiative for businesses to purchase high-precision cameras linked to the police and sheriff crime centers 
    • Assisted with securing $1 million in renewed incentives to bring more direct flights to the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport 
    • Piloted a business-led litter clean up along College Drive with the goal of empowering businesses to take responsibility for greater litter maintenance around their physical locations 
    • Hosted a Canvas Regional Benchmarking trip to Greenville, SC with over 110 regional business and community leaders to learn economic development best practices from the host city 
    • Launched BRAC’s Substack, BR By the Numbers, to share economic research at the intersection of economic development and quality of place 

BRAC will review its 2022 accomplishments and unveil its 2023 strategic priorities at its Annual Meeting on March 3, 2023, at the Raising Cane’s River Center. Registration for the event will open in early January at brac.org/events.  

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber  

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an aggressively ambitious regional economic development organization with a bias for action. BRAC seeks to push Baton Rouge beyond the status quo, unleash its potential, and support a vibrant business community that believes the finish line does not exist. BRAC seeks to accelerate economic opportunity in the Baton Rouge Area, for everyone, through BRING IT! Baton Rouge, its five-year, regional strategic plan. Learn more about BRAC at brac.org


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