Natchitoches (“naka-tush”), Louisiana may not be the first place you think of as cutting edge, but, in light of recent developments, perhaps it should be. More than 300 years in the making, Natchitoches is home to some great companies and opportunities alike. Employers like Alliance Compressors, an Emerson joint venture, trust the local workforce to deliver – and they have, earning Alliance top honors among worldwide facilities. Quality of life is also enhanced by a medical complex that invests in technology; and companies like CSRA trust the graduates of Natchitoches’ own Northwestern State University (NSU) to help them deliver technology services to the federal government.
Natchitoches is worth exploring — not only because of its history and culture but because of the myriad approaches to enhancing quality of life and economic development. The area boasts numerous early childhood education initiatives, robotics camps, middle school math competitions, and STEM-based summer camps – all initiated by the business community through the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce. The city is also home to the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts – a college-preparatory high school ranked among the best in the nation.
As further evidence of the strong focus on education and workforce preparedness, NSU recently signed a cooperative endeavor agreement with CSRA and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to boost its Computer Information Systems program to increase the number of annual graduates and help fulfill the workforce needs of CSRA. The 10-year agreement, which will more than double the size of the program, will provide $2.5mil to assist with faculty, professional development, and equipment
Additionally, the Natchitoches Community Alliance recently rolled out the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program, a two-year, five-semester apprentice program supported by local employers and taught collaboratively by NSU and the local technical college.
While education is a priority, healthcare is a major factor in quality of life as well, and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) consistently expands its services to align with current and future healthcare needs of its community. Located in the heart of Natchitoches Parish, NRMC is an award-winning medical center, enhancing its community’s well-being.
Recently, NRMC added the daVinci Si Surgical System. Using 3D visualization and specialized tools on robotic arms, surgeons can now perform hysterectomies, cholecystectomies, hernia repairs, and more as minimally invasive surgeries. Patient benefits include smaller incisions, less pain and scarring, a reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recoveries.
In addition to robotics, NRMC also opened a Comprehensive Wound Care Center as part of a $3 million renovation and expansion project. The Center provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds and utilizes two hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers to effectively promote healing, thereby restoring healthy tissue and skin. The hospital’s continued investment in innovative technologies helps ensure outstanding healthcare services for the region.
Natchitoches is not only home to rail, port, air, and Interstate transport options — but also progressive leaders, students, and workers. A highly-rated public school system, a strong regional university, and hundreds of LED Certified shovel-ready acres are all indicators that this area is ready for business. The name is hard to pronounce, but right now investment is easy.