Fink: LCTCS agenda support is dire

Rosadel Trosclair Fakier
February 18, 2008
February 20, 2008
Rosadel Trosclair Fakier
February 18, 2008
February 20, 2008

Dear Editor,

I had the pleasure to attend the Regional Workforce Meeting on Feb. 8 in Gray. As I listened to Dr. May’s presentation defining the workforce needs and the role that Louisiana Technical Colleges will play in the future, I was struck by the thought of our own technical college in St. Mary Parish, Young Memorial, with campuses in Morgan City and Franklin.

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System is so very critical to the future of our state in maintaining and growing the skilled professionals required for the future. Dr. May outlined the LCTCS priorities:

• Designate the responsibility for the delivery of workforce training for Louisiana to the LCTCS – $62 million

• Establish a Rapid Response Training Fund to address urgent workforce needs – $15 million

• Establish “Centers of Excellence” to meet industry demand in key sectors – $66 million

• Provide facilities to meet both current and future workforce needs – $27 million through the capital outlay program

On the surface these numbers may appear staggering at $170 million but after years of neglect and a major storm crisis, the lights are being turned on.

As Gov. Jindal and the state Legislature set the vision for excellence in education and workforce development lets also consider the power of collaboration as successfully demonstrated by Dean Garrett and industrial partners in other ways.

• Total emphasis on sending all high school students to obtain a four-year college degree does not recognize the capabilities of students that want to work with their hands.

• Establish greater partnerships between secondary education, industry and community/technical colleges.

• Share not only resources between high schools and technical colleges but change rules to give school boards greater curriculum flexibility.

• Continue to re-emphasize the TOPS-TECH program for technical colleges.

• Lower birthrates provide less candidates for skills training, so recruitment not only of the worker but of the family means new residents coming to Louisiana. The community and technical college could offer programs to the spouse or adult children to improve their family’s income and quality of life.

• Skills requirements of the future must be integrated into the technical college curriculum such as medical technology, robotics, biotechnologies, etc.

It’s not enough to prepare a workforce for the now but for the tomorrow.

I urge our governor, legislators and St. Mary Parish residents to support the Community and Technical College agenda, as neglect is far more expensive than investment in our future.

Frank G. Fink

Director of Economic Development, St. Mary Parish Government