Sunday, May 26, 2024

Louisiana Higher Ed: Community college system president asks Congress to expand Pell Grant 

by BIZ Magazine

The Louisiana Illuminator and reporter Piper Hutchinson takes a weekly look at news from universities and colleges around the state.

Sullivan takes national stage 

Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce to advocate for the expansion of Pell grants to cover short term programs. 

“With each information cycle and technological advancement, the skill requirements of the

workplace are ever increasing,” Sullivan said. “We are already far behind, as reflected in our nation’s near-record 11 million unfilled job openings.” 

Sullivan testified that the best thing Congress could do to address the nation’s skill shortage would be to authorize the use of Pell grants to cover workforce programs. 

“Education is the antidote to nearly every single issue we face as a nation,” Sullivan said. 

Sullivan also asked congressional leaders to reform the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and to promote employer partnerships in education. 

Green rice 

The LSU AgCenter was awarded $10 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve sustainability and profitability of rice farming. The money will go toward research innovations that advance climate-resilient crops.

According to a press release, rice production contributes $550 million to Louisiana’s economy but is threatened by extreme weather. 

The project will aim to help rice farmers in the South to navigate climate change. 

“We will equip the current and next generation of rice farmers, consultants and researchers with the necessary knowledge and skillset to embrace the new climate-smart agriculture technologies and production practices,” said Prasanta Subudhi, the project’s lead. 

The grant is part of a $70 million USDA investment to establish climate-resilient food and agricultural systems. 

LSU Alexandria celebrates record class size

LSU at Alexandria’s spring enrollment increased nearly 13% to 3,992 students, making it the university’s largest spring class in history. 

LSUA Chancellor Paul Coreil noted the record brings the university closer to its goal of 5,000 students by 2025. 

The school was one of three in the state to see an increase in enrollment in the fall 2022 semester and saw 88.3% of freshmen enrolled in the fall return for the spring semester. 

“Our continued record enrollment makes LSUA one of the fastest growing four-year universities in Louisiana… a designation that we are very proud of and one we will continue to work hard to maintain as we move closer to our goal,” Coreil said. 

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