Gov. Jindal said, "Only in Louisiana has our rapidly growing economy won us a number one ranking by Southern Business and Development magazine for last three straight years. Only in Louisiana do we have the number one worker-training program in the country and the honor of being named Business Facilities magazine's 2010 State of the Year. We are also proud to say that only in Louisiana do we have the headquarters of Aeroframe – which has now surpassed a major milestone by creating more than 300 new jobs for Louisiana workers, ahead of schedule. My number one priority is to make Louisiana the best place to create jobs and to raise a family, and we won't rest until everyone can say with confidence that only in Louisiana do we give every business all the tools they need to compete and succeed."
In February of last year, Governor Jindal joined the company to announce their expansion plans, which included the creation of 550 jobs with a combined annual payroll of slightly more than $30 million. Today, Governor Jindal said the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company has already hired more than 300 new workers since last year and expects to reach a total employment of 650 by early 2013, with the annual payroll increasing to nearly $36 million. The company will add 100 more jobs and nearly $6 million in additional payroll beyond initial 2010 projections.
Aeroframe's Chennault facilities represent the largest maintenance center in the U.S. for Airbus aircraft, and the Lake Charles site also services and overhauls other large commercial transport aircraft. To facilitate Aeroframe's latest expansion, the Louisiana Economic Development Corp. in March approved a $1.5 million loan guarantee that backed a $3 million line of credit to fund improvements at the Aeroframe site in Lake Charles. In addition, the company has utilized Louisiana's Quality Jobs incentive available as a five percent or six percent payroll rebate to companies who create high-wage jobs. And Aeroframe has received assistance from Louisiana FastStart™ to recruit and train new employees.
Porter, the Aeroframe president and CEO, said he was "amazed" by Louisiana FastStart's effectiveness. Needing to add 300 new workers, his team had to find smart, qualified employees quickly. FastStart met the challenge with breakneck speed, he said.
"I've never seen a government entity move so quickly to recruit and train people," Porter said. "If you need to assemble a top-notch team in a hurry, you'll find Louisiana FastStart can do it."
Business Facilities magazine last year named Louisiana FastStart as the nation's best workforce development program.
"Certainly, Southwest Louisiana offers a great array of economic development strengths – including a huge transportation asset in Chennault International Airport – but what we continue to find with employers all across Louisiana is that FastStart lives up to its name in the best possible way," said Stephen Moret, the Louisiana Economic Development secretary. LED created the FastStart program more than three years ago. "When companies look at Louisiana's business climate, pro-growth tax policies and targeted incentives, FastStart frequently creates a slam dunk in Louisiana's favor against potential company expansion sites in other states."