Gov. Bobby Jindal’ s plan to create a $40 mil incentive fund to direct dollars to high-demand programs that will fill up the petrochemical, engineering and production jobs his administration has attracted to Louisiana crossed its first legislative hurdle this week.
The particular bill (House Bill 1033) simply by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, would set up the Labor force and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, called the WISE Fund, the newest Orleans Times-Picayune reported. It would drive money to high-demand areas, such as science, technology and research applications, at Louisiana’ s four-year colleges and community and technical schools.
Dollars for the fund would be allocated through the budget procedure, and Jindal proposes $40 mil for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal season.
The Jindal management has attracted billions of dollars within new investment, much of it in the petrochemical industry, but administration and higher education leaders say Louisiana needs to better prepare workers for the job opportunities coming with those projects.
“ This is a very targeted, mathematical approach to make sure we satisfy the workforce demand, ” Kleckley stated.
The House Appropriations Panel backed the bill without argument Monday. It moves next to the entire House for debate.
An eight-person council that includes higher education system leaders and the state economic development and labor secretaries would certainly decide how to divvy up money across campuses, and the Board of Regents would make the final decision.
Each campus wouldn’ t become guaranteed a slice of the cash.
To get the dollars, institutions would have to work with private businesses and get a 20 percent funding fit, which could include cash or donations of technology, construction materials, scholarship grants, endowed faculty or other items.
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