Louisiana Earns 2021 Silver Shovel Award For Economic Development Wins
BATON ROUGE (press release) — Area Development magazine has recognized Louisiana for one of the nation’s best economic development performances in the past year by presenting the state with a 2021 Silver Shovel Award. The 2021 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards honor states that create the most significant impact from investment and job creation projects during 2020.
This year’s award marks the 10th time in 12 years that Louisiana has won Area Development’s Silver Shovel Award, following previous awards in 2020, 2018 and 2010 through 2016. The magazine evaluates states, giving weighted scores for highly-valued jobs per capita, the amount of investment, the number of new facilities and industry diversity. Projects submitted by Louisiana represent more than $11.4 billion in capital investment and 2,290 new direct jobs.
“Last year provided major challenges for Louisiana and our economy, but our economic successes have proven that Louisiana is prepared to weather such challenges and continue to secure exceptional economic development milestones,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “The Silver Shovel Award recognizes Louisiana’s continued excellence in delivering on its promise to welcome new investments and provide great new opportunities for our people. The highlight of last year’s projects is the planned $9.2 billion Grön Fuels Complex at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, which would create an estimated 1,025 direct jobs as well as provide environmentally friendly energy production.
Grön Fuels led Louisiana’s list of submitted projects to garner Area Development’s Silver Shovel Award. The other projects on the submitted list include Mitsubishi Chemical’s $1 billion, 125-job manufacturing facility in Ascension Parish; a $100-million, 500-job Amazon fulfillment center in Lafayette Parish; a $825 million expansion of REG Geismar in Ascension Parish, which will generate 60 new jobs; and a 20-job, $244 million expansion by ExxonMobil in its East Baton Rouge Parish petroleum refinery.
Additional projects included SchoolMint’s 178-job facility in Lafayette Parish; Westfield Fluid Controls’ $5.1 million, 67-job aerospace manufacturing project, also in Lafayette Parish; Service Corporation International’s $500,000, 115 job corporate office expansion in Jefferson Parish; Click Here Digital’s $1.2 million, 100-job headquarters expansion in East Baton Rouge Parish; and E.I. Williams’ 100-job manufacturing facility in Webster Parish.
Louisiana’s economic development projects merited a 2021 Silver Shovel Award in the category for states of 3 million to 5 million people. Area Development collected information from all 50 states on their top job creation and investment projects. The 2021 Shovel Awards reflect major projects that broke ground, began hiring or invested money in 2020.
The 2021 Silver Shovel Award joins other recent economic development honors and recognition for the state:
- In 2021, Louisiana earned Southern Business and Development magazine’s “State of the Year” title for best economic development results in the South, tied only with Alabama
- Also last year, Business Facilities magazine ranked LED FastStart® the No. 1 state workforce development program for the 11th straight year.
- In October 2020, the International Economic Development Council recognized LED’s Community Competitiveness division’s Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program with a Silver Award; IEDC also recognized LED FastStart’s higher education partnerships with an IEDC Silver Award and its talent development and retention efforts with an IEDC Bronze Award.
- In January 2021, Business Facilities magazine ranked the Grön Fuels project as the nation’s No. 2 Economic Development Deal of the Year.
- In March 2021, Site Selection magazine ranked Louisiana’s business climate No. 8 in the U.S., the 11th time in the past 12 years that Louisiana has landed in the Top 10 for project performance on a per capita basis.