Friday, October 7, 2016

Recognizing the impact of manufacturing in our region

October 7 is known as National Manufacturing Day, a celebration of modern manufacturing and a time to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Manufacturing plays a key role in the economy of Louisiana and across the United States.

According to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), approximately 3,000 manufacturing companies in Louisiana contribute more than 20 percent of the state's gross state product and employ more than 148,000 people. These are good paying jobs which have an average salary of $82,000 which is almost double Louisiana's average wage of $44,409.

In the United States, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the nation's economy, and for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. Stephen Waguespack of LABI said taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the ninth largest economy in the world.

Locally, leaders are working on partnerships that will expand resources for regionally-based manufacturing companies and help strengthen the workforce needed to fill jobs at these sites. Today, La. Delta Community College announced a partnership with Reliability Solutions and Training Logic, Inc. two firms with substantive expertise in working with manufacturing companies to train workers for modern automated manufacturing operations. 

Read the full announcement at:

Representatives from Reliability Solutions said in less than 10 years, there will be a shortfall of 3.4 million skilled tradespeople.  Many people, especially those coming out of high school, falsely believe trades-related jobs are "second class" or "demeaning" jobs, said Ian McKinnon of Reliability Solutions.  McKinnon said many of these jobs often lead to six-figure salaries.  He encouraged community and business leaders to help spread the message of the opportunities awaiting those interested in pursuing a trades-related career.
To learn more about Manufacturing Day and its impact to our economy, visit

Students getting a tour of Bancroft Bag in West Monroe. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Third Annual WMWO Chamber Business Expo June 24

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce will present its Third Annual Business Expo on Friday, June 24, presented by Glenwood Regional Medical Center.

The Business Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Monroe Convention Center at 901 Ridge Avenue in West Monroe.

This event is FREE to the general public. You do not have to be a WMWO Chamber member to attend.  The Expo offers the public a chance to learn about more than 60 of our local businesses and organizations.  Attendees will be able to visit with retailers, professional service providers, nonprofit organizations and much more.  There will be plenty of free samples, door prizes, health screenings and much more.  The Expo is family friendly - there will be complimentary light refreshments as well as an inflatable jumper for children and even Kona Ice snowcones for sale!

This is an excellent networking opportunity for Chamber members and local businesses.  So many times, business owners do not have the time to meet one another because they are unable to get away from their own storefronts.  The Business Expo allows business owners the chance to connect with other leaders and create meaningful business relationships.

To learn more about the Expo, call the WMWO Chamber at (318) 325-1961.  Receive regular updates about the Expo by joining its Facebook event page at:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Understanding the impact of small businesses

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is celebrating small businesses and the contributions they make to our community during the month of May.

The U.S. Small Business Administration officially recognizes the value of small businesses during National Small Business Week held May 1-7, 2016.

It is estimated that small businesses make up 97 percent of all Louisiana employers.  In Northeast Louisiana alone, there are over 7,000 small businesses.  The top three industries include retail, professional services, health care and social assistance.  In the United States, small businesses pay almost 40 percent of all wages

Volunteers visited over 50 small businesses in the West Monroe and West Ouachita area this week to present them with Small Business Week/Shop Local signs.  We thank small businesses for the time, energy and commitment they give every day.  Small businesses employ our friends, family and neighbors, and sales tax generated from these businesses help fund parks, schools, roadways and public safety.

The La. Small Business Development Center on the ULM campus offers a number of free trainings and services for small business owners in this region.  The Chamber encourages small business owners to take advantage of their services.  They can be reached at (318) 324-1224 or online at

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade is fun for the entire family

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce, Love Your Community and City of West Monroe work together each year to host the annual St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade and Festival, a day of free family fun at Kiroli Park in West Monroe.

This wonderful event is sponsored by Centric Federal Credit Union.

Admission to Kiroli Park is waived during the festival.

The 4th Annual St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade and Festival is a day of family fun with the highlight of the day being a bicycle parade around Kiroli Park's athletic field. People of all ages are invited to take part in this non-motorized parade - participants can use bicycles, wagons, strollers, scooters etc. to stroll around the parade route.  Parade organizers will lead off with a decorated golf cart.

Prizes are awarded to the best dressed children, adults and pets so be sure to deck yourself in the finest green attire!

Live Irish music will be provided by Emerald Accent, and a demonstration from a dancer with the Jackson Irish Dancers.  There will be plenty of crafts, games and other activities for children during the day.  Some of the groups that will participate with activities include the Masur Museum, La. Purchase Gardens and Zoo, Macaroni Kid and cookie/cupcake decorating with Tummy Yummy Creations.  Other activities include face painting, a photo booth, inflatable bouncers and animal balloons with Rainbow the Clown.

Free popcorn and green lemonade will be provided to festival attendees while supplies last.

Food vendors will be selling refreshments at the festival including Kona Ice snocones, green cotton candy, funnel cakes and other treats.

St. Paddy's Day T-shirts will be available for sale for $10 each at the festival.

Event organizers are closely monitoring the weather for this weekend. Please keep checking the festival's Facebook event page for updates.

Many thanks to all of the companies and organizations who have sponsored this event and made it possible for local families to enjoy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's time for the Great American Cleanup in Ouachita Parish

For many, the beginning of March seems marks the unofficial start of the spring season.

For Ouachita Green and its partners, March 1 begins a three-month period known as the Great American Cleanup.

During the Great American Cleanup, volunteers are called to action to clean all areas of Ouachita Parish.  A parish wide cleanup will be held on Saturday, March 19.  Various staging sites will be established around the parish allowing volunteers to register and providing them with cleanup supplies.

The community cleanup provides the public an opportunity to play an active role in the beautification of our parish.  The appearance of our community is the first impression many investors and developers have of this area. The presence of litter is an indicator of more significant problems such as crime, neglect and a community that cares.

In an effort to combat litter and empower local residents, Ouachita Green has established a new litter hotline that is available day and night and on weekends. The Litter Hotline number is 318-460-0LTR (Zero Litter).  Residents are encouraged to use this number when they see littering or illegal dumpsites.  

Ouachita Green encourages the public to take action this spring against litter and help be an "everyday hero" when it comes to keeping our home clean and litter free.

To learn more about the Great American Cleanup or any program hosted by Ouachita Green, visit