Southwest Louisiana is home to a robust and diversified economy anchored by the petrochemical, education, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality industries. The region’s strategic location along the Gulf of Mexico contributes greatly to its strong petrochemical industry, which is led by such companies as CITGO Petroleum, PPG Industries, ConocoPhillips and Global Industries. This position affords businesses access to three developing liquefied natural gas pipelines and several active ports, including the Port of Lake Charles (the 11th largest deep-water port in the U.S.), West Calcasieu Port, the East and West Cameron Ports, Mermentau River Port and Vinton Port.
The aerospace industry is emerging as a major player in Southwest Louisiana as well, thanks to the presence of Lake Charles Regional Airport and Chennault International Airport – the latter of which hosts well-known tenants including Northrop Grumman, Aeroframe Services and Million Air (the airport’s FBO). Both airports feature designated foreign trade and enterprise zones, a great advantage to those businesses residing within their borders.
All of these industries are well-supported by a bevy of local business resources. The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance is characterized by a regional partnership of the Chamber Southwest Louisiana, the Southwest Louisiana Alliance Foundation and the Southwest Louisiana Partnership for Economic Development. These organizations have come together in order to “strengthen the business recruiting and retention efforts for Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes.” Through the Alliance, businesses, professionals and young individuals have access to a long list of resources and services, including legislative services, informative seminars, networking opportunities, leadership and workforce development services, local and state incentives and much more.
Southwest Louisiana also hosts excellent technical schools and McNeese State University (MSU), which prepare students to enter the workforce as valuable employees. MSU itself hosts several major business resources, including the Small Business Development Center, the H.C. Drew Center for Economic Development Information Services, the Louisiana Environmental Research Center, the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education and the Lake Area Industries/McNeese Engineering Partnership. Likewise, SOWELA Technical Community College is dedicated to providing employer and employee services through its Workforce Development Unit, which offers specifically-designed training programs that meet the unique needs of the community.