Economic impact and setting the groundwork for the future of Acadiana's economy were the themes for One Acadiana's 2019 Regional Celebration Wednesday night.
One Acadiana said its 2018 accomplishments included business retention and expansion efforts that resulted in $23 million in capital investment, 282 retained jobs and 477 new jobs. Some of these expansions and new jobs included a $5 million expansion at CGI that added 400 new jobs, a $3 million expansion at Riceland Crawfish that brought with it 50 retained jobs and 10 new jobs, and Richard's Cajun Food's $2.7 million expansion that garnered 12 new jobs while retaining 38 jobs.
"Through the last three years, our programs have worked and have yield significant results," said One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman. "In 2018, these initiatives and programs have helped build a strong foundation for businesses to thrive and, in doing so, transforming the economic landscape of our region."
One Acadiana also said its business development efforts saw 75 projects in their pipeline which could represent over 10,000 potential new jobs and nearly $3 billion in capital investment. Along with jobs and investment, One Acadiana also touted the marketing of the region through its South Louisiana brand and the work to get state certifications for four new sites, which brings Acadiana's total of certified sites to 1,640 acres.
In 2018, One Acadiana also developed its Regional Infrastructure Visioning Report to identify Acadiana's top infrastructure priorities.
They also discussed their education initiatives like the Acadiana Career Awareness Platform and their newly announced 55 by 25 initiative, which seeks to increase the number of working-age adults in Acadiana with post-secondary degrees, certificates and other high-value credentials to 55 percent by 2025.
The organization also addressed its impact through direct engagement, pointing to efforts to get the local government to sell the old courthouse, which could lead to over $150,000 per year in new property tax revenue and save the city $30,000.
They also highlighted their advocacy of Acadiana Day at the State Capitol, their Ballots over Breakfast series during election season, their Congressional Forum with Senator Bill Cassidy and the 3rd Congressional District Candidate forum they held in October.
"Acadiana's moving forward and our partnership proves that if you push forward, when you act with clarity and purpose and you're willing to fight for it, then there is no limit to what we can achieve," Wayman said. "We are a united force. We are nine parishes but one Acadiana."
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