Gov. Bobby Jindal made a stop at the Cyber Innovation Center on Wednesday to announce three area military-related endeavors that have led to the creation of more than 1,200 northwest Louisiana jobs.
Job growth has occurred within the Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, Cyber Innovation Center and Louisiana National Guard’s Regional Training Institute at Camp Minden, he said.
Sharing personal stories of residents who were attracted to Shreveport-Bossier City because of positions with these entities, Jindal said he plans to continue “to create opportunities for Louisianans to pursue their dreams without leaving home.”
“Our investment in Barksdale, Camp Minden and the Cyber Innovation Center has helped to position northwest Louisiana as an epicenter of military strength while creating several hundred jobs,” he said.
Companies are interested in the CIC and northwest Louisiana because there are opportunities here that allow them to lower their operating costs significantly, Cyber Innovation Center President Craig Spohn said.
“The cost of our power, our water and communications and the abundance of those things when they’re in short supply throughout the rest of the country have brought them down here on multiple occasions,” he said.
The CIC is home to Boeing and recently acquired Hitachi, a Fortune 500 data systems company, as a tenant.
Spohn said another opportunity ahead for the CIC includes a U.S. Strategic Command next generation command and control environment to construct prototypes for data collection.
Bossier Parish Police Jury President Rick Avery said investments in the CIC have led to greater opportunities in terms of jobs and for students.
Their presence has created summer cyber camps and new degree programs aimed at preparing local students for 21st century jobs, he said.
Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker said plans are still ongoing to create an accompanying national cyber research park, and although those plans are taking time, once they’re completed, the park will be “all we said it would be.”
The continued development of a regional training institute at Camp Minden is also bringing new opportunities to the area, Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau said.
The Regional Training Institute opened its doors in January. Plans to expand the institute to train Army Reserve, active duty and National Guard soldiers from across the nation are expected to continue through 2019.
“We’re taking this as a very serious initiative, but it also is a tremendous opportunity for us here in Louisiana,” he said.