Article: Economics professor estimates impact of “Welcome to Ruston”

Jul 13, 2021 | Business, Engagement

Note: This segment aired on KTBS on July 13, 2021. 

The City of Ruston has launched a new and innovative program that will actively recruit a knowledge-based workforce to the Ruston area.

There are only a few programs similar to it in the country and this is the only program for the State of Louisiana.

The “Welcome to Ruston” program and its participants will pioneer a pivotal expansion and reimagining of economic opportunities for the community.

Historically across Louisiana, upon the conclusion of higher education, the majority of graduates transition into introductory workforce positions and relocate outside the state of Louisiana. However, with remote job opportunities becoming the new normal Ruston would like to see graduates return to the area.

“Ruston is a special place where friends, family and community mean something. As mayor of Ruston, I’m proud to represent a community that has so much to offer its citizens,” Mayor Ronny Walker said.

“We know our local universities and their students provide so much to our community, and now the ‘Welcome to Ruston’ program allows us to continue that relationship beyond graduation and begin to return that favor,” said Andrew Halbrook, public works utilities manager.

The “Welcome to Ruston” program provides a $10,000 grant to qualified individuals who will relocate back to Ruston, with a priority given to La. Tech and Grambling State alumni.

Additionally, city leaders said this program could have an impact on the regional and state economies. Patrick Scott, an economics professor at Louisiana Tech University, estimates the program will bring a value-added benefit of $22.8 million over the three-year life of the initial opportunity.

Program participant David McCandelless said the program was perfect for his family.

“We have great schools and I feel like it’s just an overall better quality of life. Plus, we’re still close enough to large cities – it’s an easy drive,” McCandelless said.