Why Shreveport’s Smart City Initiative is Genius
Arguably, Mayor Adrian Perkins' plan to hit the ground running as Mayor hasn't gone as smoothly as he probably would have hoped. His first 40+ days in office have be bogged down by controversy; some imaginary (i.e. his SWAT team of personal security) and some real (this whole insurance debacle). But, today, we have to give the Mayor his due because he is following through on something he ran on that will help our city in the long run.
Yesterday, the Mayor's Chief Technology Officer Keith Hanson announced the city's first "Smart City Analysis" workshop. Now there's a lot of debate over whether or not Shreveport needs to be a 'smart city'...because most people don't understand what it means. Which I get. It's a relatively new buzz word and there are a lot of different components to it. But I'm going to break down for you why this is a good thing and why it will help the city grow in a much needed way.
CTO Hanson joined us this morning to discuss why this process is important, how it will work and everything in between. You can watch the video below:
For years, people have been complaining about the lack of manufacturing jobs in the area. Basically, that there's no decent paying, blue collar jobs for the citizens of Shreveport. The sad truth is that those jobs don't really exist any more...at least not in the traditional sense. Companies no longer employ a dozen guys on an assembly line. But, what they do is have is guys and gals running robots, who now do the job of twenty men. So, what you need is a work force of at least semi-tech savvy individuals. That's where the mayor's new initiative comes in. Plus if you look at Shreveport-Bossier over the past 20 years, there have been a ton of information technology companies moving to town...not so many manufacturing plants and warehouses. The world has changed.
The first Smart City Analysis workshop consists of companies in Northwest Louisiana who will be talking about what they need out of employees. These companies will basically layout all the base-level skills they need to fill their entry-level jobs. The mayor's office will then devise a plan to train and educate the citizenry so they have the skills to actually perform those tasks. If we have a capable workforce, more companies may look at Shreveport as a place they can call home.
The mayor's plan isn't going to change the landscape of the city overnight. To be honest, Adrian may be out of office before the effects of this plan come to fruition. But, if we want to be competitive with other cities for companies, this is a HUGE first step. The world is changing, whether we like it or not, so its about time that we change with it.