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In This Issue
New Members
Save the Date! Chamber's Legislative Luncheon Coming Up!
Business of the Week
Relay for Life Looking for Volunteers
Month Long Festival Coming Soon
FREE Welding Program
Upcoming Chamber Events
Central Louisiana Set to Become a Work Ready Community
Little Cakes Makes a Big Difference in the Community
Improving Louisiana's Economic Climate
New Congressman Meets the Chamber
Recruit at this year's LSUA's Job Fair
Be a PROUD Chamber Member
New Members   
The following businesses, organizations and individuals recently joined the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce. We thank them for their commitment to
supporting economic development and growth in Central Louisiana.
Rachel Oil Company Inc
JR Berry LLC 

Barron Builders

Chamber Strategic Luncheon 
the Central Louisiana State Legislative Delegation 


Please join us at the Chamber's February Strategic Luncheon featuring the Central Louisiana State Legislative Delegation. Legislators will comment on the upcoming 2014 State Legislative Session and take questions from those in attendance.    


Monday, February 17 
Best Western 
2720 N MacArthur Drive, Alexandria 
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m

$20 (lunch included)



Please RSVP 
by noon on Friday, February 14 
by calling 442-6671.
Or by emailing 
Business of the Week
January 27 - February 2

February 3 - February 9

 Brian Thompson 

& Sponsors

The Relay For Life of Rapides Parish is an incredible and inspiring opportunity to unite as a community to honor cancer survivors, raise awareness about what we can do to reduce our cancer risk, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease.   


Holy Savior Menard Central High School

4603 Coliseum Blvd, Alexandria

Friday, April 11 -- 6 P.M. 


Click here to become a corporate sponsor.  


Click below for more details about our event!


Save Lives and Create a World with Less Cancer 
and More Birthdays right here in Central Louisiana!

The American Cancer Society Alex/CenLa Gala committee is currently seeking out any community supporters and community leaders who may be interested in joining the 2014 Gala planning committee!

Anyone interested in sharing their ideas, talents, resources, and skills with them to help make their 2014 Gala one for the records, please contact Markeitta Broussard at (337) 433-5817 or call her cell (337) 540-3145. You can also reach her by email,

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Outdoor Adventure Festival to Kick Off Soon... 
Get ready for your family to use their outside voices! The Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is about to kick off a month long festival encouraging everyone to go outdoors. In celebration of the area's outdoor adventures, a group of community event planners has formed the Central Louisiana Outdoor Adventure Festival. This month-long series of events during the month of March highlight the numerous outdoor activities and adventures throughout Rapides Parish. Events will include 5Ks, an art walk, a civil war reenactment, and many more.

For more information about the events or to volunteer, please contact the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at (318) 442-9546 or check online by visiting


FREE Welding Program!
LED FastStart and Central Louisiana Technical Community College in partnership with DISTRAN Steel, a subsidiary of Crest Industries, are searching for candidates to enroll in their 120-hour Basic Welding Training Program. Calsses are now through March 6, 2014.

Call (318) 487-5443 to register.

TopChamber Connection
February 3, 2014


You are receiving this email because you are a member of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce. Don't forget to add to your address book so we'll be sure to land in your inbox!

Upcoming Chamber Events 

(click on images to learn more about each business/event)





Tuesday, January 28, 2014 
100 Year Task Force Meeting
Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce 
Now - March 6, 2014 
Free Welding Program  
Central Louisiana Technical Community College 
4311 South MacArthur Drive 
Alexandria, LA 
RSVP call (318) 487-5443 





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Leonidas Polk Chapter of the AUSA
Membership Meeting 

East Leesville Baptist Church - Family Life Center

RSVP (deadline 1/31) - $12/person 
call (337) 238-2934 or (337) 340-0063



Thursday, February 6, 2014 

Joint meeting of the Legislative and Infrastructure Committees to develop 2014 Legislative Agenda

Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce 







Tuesday, February 11, 2014 
100 Year Task Force Meeting
Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce 






       Monday, February 17, 2014

Strategic Luncheon featuring the Central Louisiana State Legislative Delegation 
Best Western
2720 N MacArthur Drive
Alexandria, LA 
11:30am Buffet - Program begins at 12:00 noon 
For the complete Chamber calendar, click here
Central Louisiana set to become a "Work Ready Community"

A plan is in place to improve Central Louisiana's workforce, help businesses 
save money in the hiring process, experience less turnover and increased production.
The Cenla Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the WorkKeys program, funded by the Orchard and Rapides Foundations. The Work Ready Network is a proven tool in successfully identifying thousands of qualified employees. Now area businesses need to embrace this new hiring practice and participate in the workforce development program.  

The Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, the Orchard Foundation, CLEDA and other partners came together Monday, January 27 to announce its mission to become one of the nation's first Work Ready Communities.

Gilchrist Construction sponsored the event and highlighted examples of how becoming part of the Work Ready network has significantly enhanced its hiring processes.  Gilchrist Construction was the recipient of the national Education+Innovation HIRE Award in Washington, D.C. in November.

About 90 employers are needed in order for our region to become a certified Work Ready Community. The Chamber is taking this goal a step further and is striving to have 
20% of its members, more than 200 employers, utilizing the program by the end of 2014.    
 "We're going to work on it methodically, month after month," said Chamber President Deborah Randolph.

The Work Ready Network matches education and training efforts with regional economic needs. The program has two primary components: the WorkKeys assessment system and the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Employees or potential employees who achieve a high score on their WorkKeys assessment earn an NCRC, showing that they possess the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to be a productive employee.  


Employees embracing a common language around workforce skill requirements is a crucial part of the Certified Work Ready Communities effort. Community goals include a measure of business engagement. To learn more about using WorkKeys in your business, and to track the progress towards the Chamber's goal, go to If you would like to be contacted by a Work Ready specialist, go to or call (318) 442-6671, and we will make sure you get to the right person. Thank you for helping our parish become a "Work Ready Community."   
Left to right: Sondra Redmon, Director of Workforce Development CLEDA, Marjorie Taylor,  Executive Director of The Orchard Foundation, Valerie Aymond, Chief Resource Officer Gilchrist Construction, Deborah Randolph, Chamber of Commerce President, Fred McConnel, ACT, the company that created WorkKeys.


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Little Cakes Makes a Big Difference in the Community

Little Cakes with Big Attitude auctioned of this cupcake for $550 and donated the proceeds to help the homeless.

Little Cakes with Big Attitude served its 100,000th cupcake on Thursday, January 23. To mark the occasion, Little Cakes hosted this month's "Business After Ours". The 100,000th cupcake was giant and auctioned off by Barbara Bonnette. Little Cakes then donated those funds along with 20% of the day's proceeds to the Rapides Parish School District's homeless student program.

"Part of our mission statement is to give back to the community," said Little Cakes' co-owner, Robyn Schwartz.

Little Cakes raised more than $2,300 and their generosity proved to be contagious. Brame Middle School donated $400, and Todd Morrow of Jack Rabbit Nursery (and frequent Little Cakes customer) was the winning bidder on the 100,000th cupcake with $550.

Barbara Bonnette announces a surprise $400 donation from Brame Middle School.

Little Cakes presents Lynda Ellington, homeless liaison for the Rapids school district with check.

Todd Murrow and family, winner of the 100,000th cupcake poses before taking their cupcake home.
Left to right:  David Broussard, Alexanria Kiwanis Club President, Stephen Waguespack, LABI President, Deborah Randolph, Chamber of Commerce President, and Reldon Owens, Chairman of the Board

LABI Teams Up with Cenla Chamber of Commerce to Improve Louisiana's Economic Climate


The Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), and the Alexandria Kiwanis Club, had a great discussion on how we can improve Louisiana's economic climate at LABI's annual Legislative Issues Conference.

The event took place Thursday, January 23, 2014 at the Diamond Grill in 

Stephen Waguespack, President of LABI, shared LABI's priorities and vision for the 2014 legislative session, focusing on threats to business and opportunities to improve Louisiana's economic climate and global competitiveness.

Waguespack said Louisiana's outlook is bright. However, challenges remain. One

of those challenges, the state's workforce. Economists predict the state will see an influx of 250,000 new jobs. Subsequently, the state's current workforce does not possess the skill set required for those new jobs. Waguespack said many entering the job market do not possess the dependability and professionalism that employers require. He believes we need to start preparing our kids to compete in a global economy. If not, we will not beat competing states. 


New Louisiana Congressman meets Cenla Chamber of Commerce    

New Congressman with members of the YPG.
Left to right: Blake Cooper, Reldon Owens, Congressman Vance McAllister, Dustin Matthews.

The Central Louisiana Chamber's Board of Directors and Governmental Affairs Committees met with newly elected Congressman Vance McAllister on Friday, January 17, 2014. 


Congressman McAllister was elected to serve as Louisiana's newest member of Congress this past November. He's a businessman with multiple companies. During the election he had the backing of the popular "Duck Dynasty" TV family and prided himself on having never been to Washington. He credits his win to "being real and being true." He also says he believes people are ready for something different.       


This meeting provided a great opportunity for the Chamber and the Congressman to get to know one another and discuss important issues for the Chamber and Central Louisiana.   

Looking to Hire? Recruit at this Year's LSUA Job Fair!

LSU Alexandria's 2014 JOB FAIR will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, in the LSUA Brumfield-Caffey Annex (Ballroom). The Job Fair provides LSUA's students with an opportunity to meet and talk with employers who are eager to hire well-qualified and motivated college graduates.

Please note that employers do not need to have immediate job openings to attend. In addition, employers should be prepared to remain at the fair until 2:00 p.m. While some students will attend earlier in the morning, others who have morning classes may not be able to attend until later.

A continental breakfast and buffet-style lunch will be provided to all participants.

For your convenience, the loading dock will open for set-up beginning at 7:30 a.m. If you have special needs, such as access to electrical outlets, please provide those details on your registration form.
Registration form is due by Friday, February 14, 2014. You can fax your registration to 318.473.6580 or email it to

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Show off your Membership!
Did you know that 2 out of 3 consumers prefer to do business with companies that belong to the Chamber? Contact our office today to receive your "Proud Member" logo to upload on your company's website, Facebook or Twitter!



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