The Delta Regional Authority recently announced an investment of $2.6 million in projects across the state, including three projects in Monroe.

Many of the projects announced by DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell and state Gov. John Bel Edwards are expected to enhance workforce training, help create and retain jobs and improve water and sewer service for rural families.

“This $2.6 million in strategic investments from the DRA, will bring $34.6 million to support infrastructure, healthcare and workforce in Louisiana, which is especially important for the continued development of our rural communities” said Edwards. “This is critical to moving our state and our people forward, and I am thankful to everyone involved for their commitment to helping Louisiana’s most distressed communities.”

The economic development projects include:

• A new manufacturing business in Monroe, representing an investment of $300,000 by the DRA and a total investment of $1.7 million. DRA funds will be used to build an access road to serve the Millhaven Industrial Park and a new manufacturing facility that will create 40 jobs. The 1.25 million-square-foot plant will manufacture and distribute cartons. The road also will serve the entire industrial park.

• A project improving health care services in Monroe, representing an investment of $150,000 by the DRA and a total investment of $356,565. St. Francis Medical Center plans to use DRA funds to build a new helipad to improve emergency response times and better position the facility to respond during health crises. The helipad will be built adjacent to the emergency department.

• A workforce development and training project in Monroe, representing an investment of $90,000 by the DRA and a total investment of $135,530. The University of Louisiana at Monroe will use DRA funds to train 125 individuals on unmanned aerial systems (UAS). In this “train the trainer” project, the individuals trained will spread across the community to train companies in northeast Louisiana how to use UAS in their operations. Farmers, firefighters, law enforcement officials, public utility companies and insurance companies all could benefit from the use of UAS, which uses GPS and drones to improve operations.

The investments are made through DRA’s States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, the agency’s main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship projects.

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