General Dynamics brings 600 new jobs to Bogalusa - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

General Dynamics brings 600 new jobs to Bogalusa

Part of the workspace at the call center in Bogalusa Part of the workspace at the call center in Bogalusa

The mayor of Bogalusa calls it the biggest jobs news in his city since the Great Southern lumber company moved in over 100 years ago. A new call center is moving in, bringing 600 new jobs to an area that needs them.

Bogalusa's main street is a far cry from what it once was. "The jobs here are kind of at a slow, steady pace... it could get a lot better," said resident Stephen Maner.

Businesses have boarded up, and car dealerships have moved out. Now help appears to be on the way.

"Today is a great day for Bogalusa," said Mayor Charles Mizell.

General Dynamics Information Technology is bringing in 600 new jobs to man a call center, designed to tell people in seven states about changes in health care.

"600 jobs here in Washington Parish is like 3,000 jobs in the city of New Orleans," said state Sen. Ben Nevers (D-Bogalusa).

The call center is expected to attract applicants from across the region - including Karl Miller, a former Walmart worker looking for a new job.

"This is very exciting and I've been looking for a new career path in my life," Miller said.

The new jobs will also help Washington Parish deal with a 7.7% unemployment rate.

"As the tax collector for this parish," said Sheriff Randy Seal, "We're glad General Dynamics is here. We're going to take your tax money and spend it wisely."

No one from General Dynamics was available at the news conference, but a spokesman for the company says these call centers will be manned with hundreds of people informing people about the Affordable Healthcare Act, and what they need to do to sign up.

"It's not only the $10 range starting, but it's the benefits package," said Mayor Mizell.

Many of the new workers will likely get training at Northshore Technical College. Director Gayle Ladner said, "We have training available for non-credit... we can do specialized training."

Many believe a recent decision to keep the LSU Hospital open is also cause for optimism. "LSU Hospital has been bought out by the sisters who have Our Lady of the Lake at Baton Rouge," said Bogalusa resident Christi Knight.

The new call center is expected to be operational, by mid September.

General Dynamics is holding two jobs fairs, on August 5 and August 6, at 420 Avenue B in Bogalusa.  Call 985-545-1050 for more information.

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