Over the next few years, one of the greatest challenges in Louisiana will be to produce a workforce that meets the needs of the new economy. Over the past few decades, workforce development has been a critical problem in our state, as too many businesses have been unable to fill job openings, forcing many to leave Louisiana. Unfortunately, Louisiana does not have an adequate supply of skilled and educated workers.
In the high-tech business environment today, workforce training and education is vital for our states economy to prosper. Louisiana workers need to be properly educated and trained to perform their jobs successfully and meet the needs of todays businesses.
To accomplish that goal, Louisiana needs a workforce development system that is flexible, cost effective and responsive to the changing business environment. This will lead to increased productivity for Louisiana businesses. Yet, today, Louisiana is spending millions of dollars on a workforce development system that is not working.
Studies show that by the year 2020, 65% of the new jobs in Louisiana will require more education than a high school diploma, specifically a two-year degree, but Louisiana is last in the number of high school graduates who achieve an associates degree within three years of graduation.
What needs to be done? Here are some of my suggestions on what should be done to address this problem:
- The Workforce Commission must be revamped and focus on improving coordination among the various workforce programs being operated by different state agencies. The current system makes it unnecessarily difficult for both employers and job seekers alike.
- Strengthen the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Louisiana needs to increase collaboration with industry leaders to discover their needs and provide our workers with first class training to prepare for todays economy.
- The Louisiana Community and Technical College System should be given the authority and funding to develop market based curriculum that is based on employer needs. This will develop the workforce that satisfies the economic conditions of Louisiana. Currently, the state is not taking full advantage of this valuable resource, which is one of the reasons we face our problem today.
- At key campuses throughout the state, centers of excellence should be established to connect business leaders and the various players involved in workforce development in the state. This interaction will allow specific needs to be translated into curriculum and training programs that will help fill demand in fields such as manufacturing, construction and oil & gas, which are industries that have a huge shortage of trained employees currently.
- After the hurricanes, the legislature authorized $15 million in rapid response funds for community and technical colleges. These funds were used to train 9,000 citizens for free with industry recognized certification and viable skills. This success can be duplicated by the legislature. A standing rapid response training fund should be created that will give our community and technical colleges the resources necessary to meet workforce needs on a continual basis.
Throughout the campaign for State Senate, I will continue to provide you my observations and suggestions on significant issues facing the state. It is time for leadership in Baton Rouge, and I stand ready to lead as the next State Senator for District 11. The election will be held on Saturday, October 20. Please join me in this campaign to not only become your next State Senator, but to also begin the long process of turning around the great State of Louisiana.
I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. I can be reached at (985) 612-1034 or via e-mail at
Candidate for LA State Senate, District 11