5-year plan targets N.O. growth

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans officials have unveiled a five-year economic development plan targeting key industries, creating jobs and strengthening the economy through workforce training and support programs for small businesses.

The initiative, called ProsperityNOLA, was developed by a task force created by Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2010. Its goal was to solicit ideas from business leaders and the public on how city government could aid job and business growth.

The mayor and the New Orleans Business Alliance, a public-private partnership, unveiled the plan Monday before a crowd of several hundred people at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The plan targets five industries that officials say have the most opportunity for growth: advanced manufacturing, health sciences, creative digital media, sustainable industries and transportation and trade.

Part of the plan involves riding the momentum of state economic initiatives that have used digital-media tax incentives to lure emerging technology companies to the New Orleans area in recent years. Much also will depend on promoting the city as an ideal place to both work and live, officials said.

Rod Miller, CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, said their approach will be centered around “going into these target markets, based on our clusters, and telling them the New Orleans story.”

“Being able to go to those markets and say, ‘Yeah you might think it’s cool here, but in New Orleans, you can get quality of life,’” Miller said, working his way through his pitch.

The plan was authored by the New Orleans firm GCR Inc.

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