Schreiver: Governor Bobby Jindal highlighted the grand opening of a new facility at Fletcher Technical Community College to train offshore oil and gas workers. The new BP Integrated Production Technologies (IPT) facility is an approximately 29,000 square-foot building that includes ten classrooms for oil and gas work training, nearly 4,000 square-foot equipment lab and ten offices for teachers and staff.
The total cost of the project is $8 million and includes the building, designer fees, surveying and other construction details. The $5.2 million building is being funded in part through a $4 million donation made by BP.
Governor Jindal said, “When I took office, we made a commitment to improve the campuses and learning environment for students because we know the community and technical college system is a critical pipeline for ensuring that we have skilled workers in Louisiana. The four million dollars we invested in this oil and gas training facility is evidence that we’re keeping that commitment. Louisiana is a world leader in energy production – which is why this new facility is so important. Our state powers our nation’s economy, and this industry provides great career opportunities for our people. This new facility will give Louisianians the skills they need to find good-paying jobs with energy companies so we can continue to move our economy forward.”
Since 2008, the Jindal administration has supported more than $700 million in critical higher education infrastructure investments across the state, including more than $225 million for Louisiana Community and Technical College campuses. In addition to the new IPT facility, Governor Jindal has supported $21.3 million in funding for the construction and development of Fletcher’s new campus.
The Governor also highlighted additional efforts to invest in higher education that his Administration and higher education leaders announced for the 2014 Legislative Session:
SB 526 by Senator John Alario
The bill creates the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund, a $40 million higher education workforce incentive initiative that will help ensure Louisiana has the skilled workforce it needs to fill the thousands of jobs coming to the state and better prepare Louisiana students to compete in the new global economy.
To meet this workforce development goal, the budget for the next fiscal year will increase state general funding for higher education and increase total higher education funding by $140.2 million – a 6.61 percent increase over last year. That brings total funding for higher education to $2.3 billion. The $40 million for the WISE incentive fund is included in this increase.
The fund will be made available to state research institutions that produce nationally recognized commercial research and to state colleges and universities that partner with private industry to produce graduates with high-demand degrees and certificates, and enable them to link their coursework to industry needs and projected workforce demands. It will strengthen the critical linkage between college coursework and employment needs in our state.
The funds will be made available to state research institutions that produce nationally recognized commercial research and to state colleges and universities that produce graduates with 4 and 5 STAR job ready degrees. This performance based formula rewards and incentivizes the degrees that occupational forecasting and industry have shown are the most employable and the most in demand.
To receive these funds, institutions will have to partner with private industry by recruiting at least a 20 percent private match in cash or in kind, such as technology and equipment. Each institution will present a business plan that will demonstrate how the funds will be invested to reach the number of degrees needed to fill the jobs Louisiana has now and in the next few years. And every year, each institution will be held accountable for reaching their goals to produce those degrees. Using data-driven predictive modeling with actual numbers from business and industry, the plan will help predict how many and what level of degrees are needed to meet workforce demand.