Oct 3, 2012 3:25 PM by Melissa Canone
South Louisiana Community College received a $886,000 grant that will address job losses in trade-affected industries such as auto manufacturing, shipbuilding, and furniture building. The grant - from the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative - also will meet the fast-growing demands for IT workers from local and regional employers.
SLCC is one of nine colleges among the Retraining the Gulf Coast Workforce through IT Pathways Consortium from Louisiana and Mississippi. Together, the consortium received a total of $14.7 million.
Each college will implement a new, ground-breaking IT foundational curriculum that not only leads to a marketable, entry-level certification, but also lattices into multiple in-demand IT specialty pathways and certifications in Health Informatics, Cyber Security, and Industrial IT.
These pathways will feature new online and hybrid courses. The core curriculum and specialty courses will be transferable and articulate into two- and four-year degree programs.
Colleges expect the pathway programs will serve almost 2,000 students over the three-year grant period.
"This grant will allow Acadiana residents to move through programs at a quicker pace so entry or advancement in the workplace is faster," said Dr. Natalie Harder, SLCC chancellor. "We're excited to help our businesses access a larger skilled workforce in their own backyard."
Between 2000 and 2010, Louisiana lost 21 percent of all manufacturing jobs, according to grant data. But over the next decade, IT occupations are projected to grow by 9 percent in Louisiana.
"The grant is addressing this manufacturing loss and will help get residents here in Acadiana back to work with new job skills for occupations that can sustain and improve their family lives," said Harder.
Students will have access to multiple entry and exit points along their chosen pathway and will receive a number of support services throughout enrollment, including career counseling, advising, and case management.
Money from the grant will help purchase computers, networks, communication systems, learning laboratories, and software.
Consortium members include Bossier Parish Community College (lead), Delgado Community College, Northeast Louisiana Technical College, South Louisiana Community College, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Meridian Community College, Mississippi Delta Community College, Northeast Mississippi Community College, and Pearl River Community College.