From day one
More than 300 facilities owned by U.S.-based and international firms are concentrated in Louisiana. The LED FastStart team includes dozens of experienced private-sector professionals from a range of industries. The team’s goal — to help firms efficiently ramp-up through intelligent training — gives workers the skills they need from opening day.
Fletcher Technical Community College in Schriever, Louisiana, is one of many higher education institutions that has a record of partnering with industry in training a skilled workforce.
Customized training plans draw from an in-depth analysis of each company’s workforce needs. Elements of that training might encompass workforce safety, regulatory standards, industry-specific benchmarks and leadership development for upper-level managers.
Recruitment of well-suited job candidates is just as crucial. LED FastStart has created social media recruiting campaigns for technology firms as varied as video game developers Gameloft and EA, and Fortune 500 giants that include IBM, GE and CenturyLink.
LED FastStart owes much of the program’s success to a willingness to eschew one-size-fits-all training.
“We deliver customized training based on whatever it is that a company needs to succeed,” says Paul Helton, the program’s director. “One of the things that makes LED FastStart so successful is that it is designed to be flexible and responsive to specific training needs.”
Louisiana’s new approach to workforce development cultivates meaningful partnerships between state government, private industry and higher education. In every case, regional workforce demand determines training programs and coursework.
It’s a strategy that works for both employers and job seekers, and one that spans the state.
In Baton Rouge, for instance, LED, IBM and Louisiana State University forged a private-public partnership to broaden the pipeline of software programmers for an 800-job IBM technology center.
With $14 million in state funding, LSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is working to double the size of its computer science faculty and triple the number of annual computer science graduates over five years. The university is also working closely with IBM to add coursework that will equip students with precisely the skills the company needs.
This university-government-industry model is replicated at growing IT hubs across Louisiana, including the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Research Park, where CGI will create 400 tech jobs; and in New Orleans, where the University of New Orleans has developed a first-of-its-kind technology apprenticeship program with GE Capital.
In Northwest Louisiana, CSRA has teamed up with Louisiana Tech University, Bossier Parish Community College and Northwestern State University on coursework that will prepare students for jobs at CSRA’s 800-job Integrated Technology Center, which is focused on cloud computing and cybersecurity at the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, Louisiana.