Baton Rouge — Gov. John Bel Edwards highlighted the dedication of Coast Professional Inc.’s new 8,200-square-foot contact center in West Monroe, where the company already has hired more than 100 new employees. Operating in Ouachita Parish since 2007, Coast is maintaining its original 9,000-square-foot office on Expo Circle in West Monroe while expanding at the new site. Company, state, regional and local officials participated in a ribbon-cutting for the new facility at 651 Downing Pines Road.
Following a $750,000 renovation of the former retail store, Coast began hiring in earnest three months ago. The collaboration between the company, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Ouachita Workforce Development Board 81, LED FastStart® and others aided the company in recruiting, hiring and training 120 people by Thursday’s dedication event.
“In today’s economy, collaboration is the key to unlocking job creation and growth for our communities,” Gov. Edwards said. “We are proud that Coast recognized the strength of the West Monroe community, its leadership at the city, parish and regional levels, and the ability of all parties to work closely with our state workforce teams. The result is a dramatic success story for Ouachita Parish and Northeast Louisiana.”
In addition to retaining 125 existing jobs, Coast will create 146 new direct jobs at the new contact center. As a federal contractor, Coast provides benefits that include Service Contract Act wages, high-quality health care options, tuition assistance, flexible scheduling, paid time off, and onsite training. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in another 85 new indirect jobs, for a total of 231 new jobs in West Monroe and the surrounding region.
“Coast has seen significant company growth over the past year and we are excited to add new employees to our ever-growing team,” said Coast President Everett Stagg, who also serves as co-chairman of the company’s board of directors. “The Downing Pines location is a result of many years of effort, dedication and strategic planning. I want to thank everyone involved in bringing this to fruition for their support during this process. This expansion was a complete team effort and we are looking forward to beginning a new chapter at Coast.”
Coast specializes in outbound calls to assist consumers in resolving their debts. The company provides collection services to over 200 clients, including colleges, universities and the federal government.
LED FastStart® – the nation’s top-ranked state workforce development program – is guiding recruitment efforts for Coast while the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Ouachita Workforce Development Board 81 are leading training efforts for the new Coast personnel.
“The Workforce Development Board 81 is very excited about the expansion of Coast,” said Doretha Bennett, the workforce board’s executive director. “Coast is assisting our region by leaps and bounds by creating new jobs, and we applaud their success. This expansion is a huge endeavor, and WDB 81 will continue to support the company in growing their workforce.”
The North Louisiana Economic Partnership, City of West Monroe, and the West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce offered strategic support to Coast to make the expansion project possible.
“West Monroe is very happy that Coast chose to invest and expand their current operations in West Monroe,” Mayor Staci Mitchell said. “This expansion is evidence of our efforts and hard work to make West Monroe a desired place to live and work. We are proud to have Coast as an active partner in our community. Thank you to NLEP, LED, Louisiana Workforce Commission, Ouachita Workforce Development Board 81 and the Governor’s Office for working with the City of West Monroe to assist Coast to remain and expand in West Monroe.”
NLEP and the State of Louisiana began discussing a potential project with Coast early this year, leading to the project announcement in June 2019. In addition to the training partnerships, the company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone Program.
“Coast’s grand opening marks a great occasion for the City of West Monroe,” said President Scott Martinez of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership. “The 146 new jobs created by the expansion represent a huge economic impact not just for West Monroe but for surrounding communities as well. NLEP is pleased to have worked with LED, the City of West Monroe, the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Ouachita Workforce Development Board 81 on this project. That collaboration led to the development of an economic incentive package and workforce solutions that brought this economic development project to West Monroe.”