Driving Change Since 2016

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is a force for change and economic progress in the nine-parish Capital Region. In naming its strategy, “Think Bigger,” BRAC announced its intent: Louisiana’s Capital Region must act boldly and aggressively to solve major challenges and spark exciting, new opportunities. Four main goals framed BRAC’s efforts to think and act bigger: grow and diversify the regional economy; cultivate the region’s talent; transform the area’s quality of life; and elevate the region’s external image. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted 2020, but celebrating five years of wins feels more important now than it ever has.
The outcomes below unveil the focus and incredible impact that BRAC has had on the regional economy under the Think Bigger strategy. For more information, check out BRAC’s annual reports from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 in our publications archive.

THINK BIGGER OUTCOMES

Grow and Diversify the Regional Economy

  • Bolstered existing sectors and introduced diversifying companies with 74 new or expanded projects in the Capital Region, representing 4,618 new direct jobs, over $216 million in payroll, and over $6.9 billion in capital expenditure
  • Supported growth of existing companies by direct contact with 873 businesses through BRAC’s Business Retention and Expansion Program
  • Named Southern Business & Development magazine’s “Major Market of the Year” for its 2020 100 Top Deals and Hot Markets
  • Identified 4,612 acres across 13 properties in the Capital Region as development-ready, and certified them in BRAC’s Certified Sites Program
  • Developed a local approval process for the Industrial Tax Exemption Program that has yielded 100% approvals in West Feliciana, East Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Ascension Parishes

Cultivate the Region’s Talent

  • Created STEM-focused partnerships between businesses and schools, giving teachers and principals exposure to workplaces and promising careers for their students
  • Launched the state’s first registered technology apprenticeship, Apprenti Louisiana, in partnership with NexusLA and the Louisiana Workforce Commission
  • Partnered with IBM to bring its P-TECH program to the region, equipping high school students with a six-year pathway to a potential job at IBM or Dow Chemical
  • Advocated successfully for the approval of 16 new high-performing public schools in Baton Rouge, including BASIS, Inspire NOLA, IDEA Public Schools, University Prep (UP) Elementary, and the Career and Technical Education Center; and supported the 2018 EBR tax plan election to open new schools and renovate facilities
  • Created a historic partnership with higher education institutions to retain college students after graduation by leveraging Handshake. Read more about the partnership here.
  • Conducted customized tours of the region for over 500 executives considering employment in Baton Rouge, helping to bolster talent attraction efforts

Transform the Area’s Quality of Life

  • Secured nearly $1.5 billion in Capital Region transportation infrastructure improvements committed between state and local entities, including the successful passage of the MovEBR plan, widening I-10 to the Ascension Parish line, and the LA 415 project
  • Drove effort to secure funding for construction to solve the I-10 bottleneck, a priority specifically named in the Think Bigger strategy
  • Pushed to create and supported the launch of the Capital Area Road and Bridge District, allowing five parishes in the region the opportunity to fund and build a new Mississippi River bridge and bypass
  • Secured performance metrics for the EBR maintenance department in the annual city-parish budget for the first time
  • Passed an anti-blight law that brings Louisiana in line with the rest of the country by improving title laws favorably for reinvestment in blighted properties

Elevate the Region’s External Image

  • Established the region’s first ever dedicated public relations strategy to place positive stories about the Baton Rouge Area’s businesses, talent, and assets in national publications
  • Secured almost $500,000 in funding for a multi-year image strategy with partners Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Visit Baton Rouge, and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
  • Secured over 118 placements in top-tier national publications, representing over 1.8 billion impressions and over $7.5 million in ad equivalency
  • Facilitated 16 media visits to Baton Rouge and a media tour to New York City with top Baton Rouge spokespeople
  • Developed the Baton Rouge Toolkit, a resource of key messages, positive news clippings, and tips for HR and marketing departments to showcase the region to prospective employees
  • Launched a fully redesigned brac.org to showcase the region’s advantages to internal and external audiences
  • Completed a national market awareness study of Baton Rouge among working-age adults in five of the top media markets to determine perception of the area as a place to live and do business

Think Bigger standouts: 2016 - 2020

Recognized among the Best Places to Work by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report in 2018
Cut the ribbon on the newly renovated David E. Roberts Center for Economic Development in October of 2018
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