Business Facilities magazine ranked LED FastStart as the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program for a record ninth consecutive year, the state agency announced.

In its 2018 State Rankings Report, Louisiana also earned Top 10 rankings among the best states for Economic Growth Potential, Foreign Trade Zone activity (exports) and Chemicals Manufacturing.

"LED FastStart works with new and expanding companies in target industries to tailor comprehensive recruiting, screening and state-of-the-art training solutions that enable employees to be fully prepared for the launch of new corporate operations on day one," the agency said in a news release.

Gray-based Danos and Edison Chouest Offshore in Cut Off are among local companies that have worked with LED FastStart.

“Technology-based training is a vital tool for building a successful 21st century economy,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “When it comes to workforce development, it’s not enough to do one good thing over and over. LED FastStart has remained the national leader thanks to its evolving, technology-based approach to worker training that is both client-oriented and forward-looking. Our program gives Louisiana workers the best opportunities to land a good job, or move to a better job, and it provides high-quality workforce solutions to companies investing in Louisiana."

In recent years, LED Secretary Don Pierson said, the agency has enhanced its recruitment and training programs with and It has also created partnerships with secondary and higher education institutions for workforce development programs. helps job seekers connect to hundreds of employers, and Louisiana Business Connection matches small business vendors with contractors on large projects in the state.

"Louisiana has been working with its education partners to ensure that occupational demand for expanding industries is reflected in the coursework and training provided by the state’s technical and community colleges, as well as universities at the undergraduate and graduate levels," the agency said.

Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Monty Sullivan said the collaboration with FastStart has produced programs like Certification for Manufacturing, or C4M, being offered at many campuses, the Sasol Regional Training Center at SOWELA Technical Community College, the partnership with Benteler Steel/Tube at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies at Bossier Parish Community College, and the new Aerospace Manufacturing Technology program at Nunez Community College.

For Waitr, a fast-growing tech startup food delivery service operating in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, LED FastStart designed training modules that employees and trainees may access 24 hours a day on the company’s website. That access helps Waitr employees train on their own schedules, rather than report at a fixed time to a traditional classroom setting.

“We consider the dynamic and talented professionals at LED FastStart as true business partners,” Waitr Director of Human Resources W. Chad Murray said. “They have provided keen insight and support within areas such as recruiting and retention, learning and growth, performance management and many other business functions. They understand our needs and culture. Waitr Inc. is a much better and stronger company because of our partnership with LED FastStart.”