Baton Rouge industries such as energy production and advanced manufacturing — alongside cutting-edge technology fields such as audio engineering and software development — form a stable foundation with a strong outlook for growth in the Capital Region.
The region’s diversification to a knowledge-based economy is well-documented — in 2013, Forbes magazine named Baton Rouge one of the Top 10 mid-sized cities in the nation for information jobs. These accolades help to further strengthen and validate the Capital Region’s position as an attractive, thriving area for both employees and industries in Baton Rouge.
The Capital Region has quickly become a force in the field of audio engineering due in part to the tremendous growth in areas of film production as well as software and digital media that rely heavily on a strong, capable workforce to meet industry needs.
Top area companies like PreSonus, recipients of Japan’s “Audio Excellence Award” in 2013, develop a variety of hardware and software solutions for musicians and audio engineers, while the Baton Rouge-based Celtic Media Centre – the largest film and television production studio in Louisiana – houses a variety of sound stages, cutting-edge audio engineering hardware, and more than two dozen companies working to support the region’s flourishing film industry.
Local universities like Baton Rouge Community College have recognized the growth of this industry and are responding accordingly. Students and professionals can enroll in degree programs for entertainment technology as well as separate courses for audio engineering and audio for digital media, which provide advanced-level subject matter and coursework to support the industry’s workforce.
The education sector is an extremely valuable component of the Baton Rouge area’s economy, led by the presence of two major universities and one of the top community colleges in the state.
Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (LSU) is the state’s flagship university, and employs a corresponding workforce to meet the demand of its tens of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students in the Baton Rouge area. LSU employs a local workforce of more than 5,600, ranging from professors at the school’s top-rated MBA program or School of Veterinary Medicine to researchers and program advisors. Just ten miles down the road, Southern University’s workforce of nearly 2,000 employees supports the school’s undergraduate programs, 24 master’s degree programs and six doctoral programs, as well as popular athletic teams, Law School, and a top-rated School of Nursing.
In addition, Baton Rouge Community College is one of the largest two-year institutions in the state, with 300 full-time instructors and adjunct faculty members responsible for educating more than 7,000 students enrolled in the college’s many popular degree programs and professional certifications.
The Capital Region has long been a hub for energy production, including some of the world’s top petrochemical operations.
ExxonMobil’s refinery in Baton Rouge is the third largest in the U.S. while independent producers such as Placid Refining Company in nearby Port Allen serve as a major supplier of jet fuel to the U.S. government, filling a critical role to addressing energy needs across the nation.
The industry is supported by a qualified area workforce and educational programs tailored to meet the needs of regional energy-related companies, such as process technology programs at Baton Rouge Community College and River Parishes Community College and strong engineering programs at Louisiana State University and Southern University.
Home to dozens of state and federal agencies, along with being the largest parish in the state, the Capital Region is the center point for government in Louisiana.
Downtown Baton Rouge in particular is a hub for government-related activity, with some of the largest agencies in the state located strategically within walking distance of the state capitol building and the City-Parish governmental building just a short walk or drive down the street. Tens of thousands of state employees and more than 4,000 City-Parish employees call Baton Rouge home, while hundreds of private businesses serve as contractors and critical providers of services to state and local government across the region.
The Baton Rouge area is home to some of the top manufacturing operations in the nation.
Global chemical manufacturers such as ExxonMobil, The Dow Chemical Co. and BASF Corporation maintain an active presence in the region, employing a collective workforce of more than 12,000 to support the companies’ area operations. Other area manufacturing operations range from companies like Jogler, a liquid level gauge manufacturer that recently relocated to Baton Rouge from Houston, to Pod Pack International, a manufacturer of compostable coffee and tea pods that announced in 2013 it would undergo a $10.1 million expansion of its facility to keep up with demand.
In addition, business incubators like the award-winning Louisiana Business and Technology Center located at the LSU Innovation Park have helped start more than 2,500 area businesses, many that focus their efforts across a variety of manufacturing-oriented areas while incorporating cutting-edge technology into business operations.
Software Development and Digital Media
In 2013, IBM announced it would open a technology services center in downtown Baton Rouge and hire 800 employees to power its local operations. IBM’s commitment to Baton Rouge reaffirmed what many throughout the area already know – the Capital Region is well on its way to becoming one of the top cities in the South for software development and digital enterprises.
Area digital media companies include Electronic Arts, one of the world’s largest entertainment software companies with more than 400 employees who work at the company’s video game testing center in Baton Rouge. In addition, leading software development companies include Cellcontrol, the award-winning innovator behind technology to limit the use of cell phones while driving.
In addition, technology incubators like the Louisiana Technology Park provide dedicated physical space and technical assistance to technology start-ups and a home for companies like Pixel Dash Studios, the largest independently owned video game studio in Louisiana.