Ponchatoula, LA — During a ceremony held at the Elmer Candy Corp. production facility in Ponchatoula on September 28, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation officially establishing October 1 through October 7, 2017, Louisiana Manufacturing Week. Leaders from Louisiana Economic Development and Elmer Chocolate joined the governor to discuss events taking place during Manufacturing Week, and showcase to area youth the available opportunities in the state’s manufacturing sector.
“It’s no secret technology is transforming U.S. manufacturing, and the timing is perfect for young people to pursue an exciting career with significant upside potential,” said Rob Nelson, CEO of Elmer Candy. “Elmer Chocolate offers opportunities to learn and grow while working with cutting edge technology, from programming robots to troubleshooting state-of-the-art equipment. People can learn the skills required to build a bright future.”
Elmer represents one of the thousands of manufacturing employers in Louisiana. Founded in 1855 in New Orleans as the Miller Candy Corp., Elmer produces a wide variety of chocolates, caramels, truffles and crèmes, along with seasonal holiday items. In June 2016, the company completed a $40 million expansion of its Ponchatoula production facility. Using the latest in manufacturing and production technology, the company’s 400,000-square-foot facility is more efficient and competitive in the market, according to a statement from the Governor’s office.
LED FastStart, a workforce development program, partnered with the Dream It. Do It. network to facilitate events taking place throughout the state. “The manufacturing industry is crucial to Louisiana’s economy, providing fulfilling careers to thousands of Louisiana residents, and we are proud to once again participate in the Dream It. Do It. campaign to encourage our youth to explore careers in this sector,” said Gov. Edwards at the event. “With the help of local and regional workforce partners and our community and technical colleges, this fun and educational campaign will once again help our young people discover the available opportunities in the field of manufacturing. The first lady and I are proud to champion this program as it encourages new educational opportunities for Louisiana students and provides a new perspective to tomorrow’s workforce.”
“Manufacturing offers students a chance to design and build our future. Initiatives like Dream It. Do It. and Manufacturing Week work to inspire next-generation workers to pursue careers in the industry,” The Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee said. “We’re proud to see Dream It. Do It. Louisiana making a huge impact on young people so that they can see the great jobs and modern technologies in manufacturing today.”
The manufacturing industry in Louisiana and around the country relies heavily on advanced technologies, state-of-the-art facilities and fast-paced work environments, which require advanced skills. In 2016, the national Dream It. Do It. campaign engaged 385,000 students, 89,000 parents and educators, and 5,000 manufacturers. In Louisiana, the 2016 statewide campaign reached 3,450 students. CST