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When you think of Bossier City, many people have images of B-52s flying overhead and endless entertainment at one of the casinos. But what people don’t realize is that Bossier City offers residents a wide variety of career opportunities. For example, Bossier City-Shreveport is not only a regional hub for medical care with Willis-Knighton, CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier and University Health, but also a center for natural gas exploration and energy.

In the heart of northwest Louisiana, our sister city Shreveport is home to the Virginia K. Shehee Biomedical Research Institute. The Institute is a 10-story, 160,000-square-foot research facility with 56 state-of-the-art labs currently occupied by scientists and researchers from Louisiana Health Shreveport.

In addition to medical research, the Bossier City-Shreveport community is expanding to include a technology focus – digital media and cyber! Bossier City is home to a growing knowledge-based workforce and information technology community.

The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), a 501c3 nonprofit corporation located in Bossier City, is the anchor of the National Cyber Research Park (NCRP) and serves as an economic engine for the region. Through its efforts, the CIC is diversifying our region’s economy by attracting high-tech jobs and creating a knowledge-based economy through innovation.

In 2007, the local governments of Bossier City and Bossier Parish and the state of Louisiana made a strategic investment of $107 million in the creation of the National Cyber Research Park and Cyber Innovation Center. This investment not only demonstrated a commitment to growth, but also to excellence by building the necessary critical infrastructure to support and attract 21st century jobs.

Since its inception, the CIC has experienced a series of wins that include the location of top Fortune 200 companies and small information technology businesses in the National Cyber Research Park. In February 2014, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) selected Bossier City and the NCRP as home to its new Integrated Technology Center, creating 800 new technology jobs in our community. In order to accommodate the influx of new CSC jobs, construction on a new 116,000-square-foot next generation technology center will be complete in summer 2016. This facility will be located next to the CIC headquarters and will serve as a daily reminder of our community’s growth.

In addition, the Cyber Innovation Center and Louisiana Tech University have partnered to establish the Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI). LTRI is dedicated to promoting and advancing public/private partnerships, accelerating applied research and development, driving economic advancement, and the commercialization of technology in three fields: cyber, energy, and resiliency. LTRI is multi-disciplinary, agile, collaborative, innovative, and responsive to needs and opportunities presented by the ever-changing demands of our regional and national economy. Currently, LTRI is designing a 90,000-square-foot facility and plans to begin construction in late 2016.

The NCRP is a 3,000-acre research and development overlay district.

The purpose of the NCRP is to build the necessary critical infrastructure that will attract federal programs to the area, to leverage an existing relationship with and proximity to Barksdale Air Force Base, to attract the contractor workforce, and to collaborate with academic institutions to build a knowledge-based workforce. The NCRP is strategically located in close proximity to Barksdale Air Force Base along Interstate 20, Interstate 220 and U.S. Highway 80.

Tenants of the NCRP enjoy a wide variety of amenities that range from unique, purpose-built office space to local and state tax incentives. For example, the state of Louisiana offers qualifying businesses a “Software Development Incentive,” which provides a tax credit of 35 percent on qualified payroll expenditures for Louisiana residents. Another benefit enjoyed by NCRP tenants and others who relocate to the Bossier City area is lower residential, commercial and industrial utility rates; Bossier City’s rates are significantly lower than the state and national rates. Furthermore, the Bossier City area is in a minimum-to-no-risk region for natural disasters.

These benefits and the unique design of the CIC headquarters have attracted defense contractors, military units and small businesses in addition to information technology companies and Fortune 200 companies. Previously, the Mighty Eighth Air Force occupied office space in the CIC while Barksdale Air Force Base underwent renovations to accommodate Air Force Global Strike Command, the U.S. Air Force’s newest major command, which is responsible for the nation’s long range strategic strike capabilities. By leveraging the CIC’s infrastructure and the community’s commitment to Barksdale Air Force Base, Bossier

City is experiencing an increase in defense-related business. The CIC is working with numerous organizations from government, industry and academia to explore opportunities to expand their operations and build their own facilities within the NCRP.

In addition to the new high-tech, knowledge-based jobs, the NCRP’s 500-acre commercial zone has also experienced significant growth in recent years. Since the CIC’s inception, three new hotels have been built within two miles of the CIC along with new restaurants and other businesses necessary to support growth in our area.

The CIC recognizes the need for more technology-skilled workers and has established the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) to advance its robust academic outreach and workforce development program, which will help build a sustainable knowledge-based workforce that can support the needs of government, industry and academia. NICERC’s programs engage faculty and students at the K-12, post-secondary, and graduate levels but have a strong emphasis on professional development for faculty in order to achieve systemic change. The programs include professional development, curricula development, workforce development, dynamic summer programs and robotics competitions. NICERC’s success has attracted national attention and funding that is allowing the program to expand across the nation.

With assets like the NCRP, CIC, BAFB and NICERC, Bossier City will continue to experience amazing growth in the coming years and will become a beacon for technological innovation for the nation.

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