Monday, June 17, 2024

Top Stories: Education

by BIZ Magazine

BPCC defies trends, announces significant enrollment increase

Despite reports of college enrollment struggles at the national and state levels, Bossier Parish Community College has reported a significant increase in students enrolling for the fall 2022 semester.

Fall classes began on August 18 and 6,303 students have enrolled at BPCC; this represents a 12% increase over last year. The College also saw a 9% increase in enrollment for the Summer 2022 term, compared to Summer 2021. With this growth, BPCC has closed the gap created by the pandemic with enrollment above where it stood in the Fall of 2019.

“BPCC’s enrollment is strong,” said, Chancellor Rick Bateman, Jr. “We are excited by the renewed interest in the high-quality programs and the outstanding student life experience offered at BPCC. At a time when colleges across the country are experiences enrollment declines, this growth is a testament to the faith that our community has in BPCC’s ability to deliver on the promise to prepare students for work and for transfer to a university.”

According to Dr. Teresa Jones, BPCC’s Executive Director of Enrollment Management, the College’s growth is due to a couple of significant developments.

“BPCC has added two new campuses with locations in Natchitoches and in Many. Our presence in these additional communities accounts for about half of the growth in our fall numbers. The other half can be traced to BPCC’s commitment to expanded offerings through its N.O.W. College which offers more instruction at Night, Online, and on the Weekends. This strategy is aimed at drawing more adult learners back into the talent development pipeline for training leading to high-wage, high-demand employment in our regional economy.”

North Louisiana Community Colleges form Workforce Training Alliance

With so many new or re-positioned employees caused by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for workforce training is growing at a rapid pace.

One of the primary missions of Louisiana’s Community and Technical colleges is to be ready to train new employees and upskill incumbent employees. The mission includes training people who want upward mobility or attain skills that make them employable at a more desirable living wage.

To address the training and worker shortages of businesses in north Louisiana, Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC), and Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College (NLTCC) have collaborated to form The Workforce Training Alliance (WTA).  

The WTA will address business and industry training needs along the I-20 corridor from Texas to Mississippi. The alliance was created from a realization that these three colleges could offer a broader range of services consistently if they formed and leveraged the unique strengths that each institution brings to the mix. The WTA will be a one-stop shop to facilitate training in the region.

While each college will serve its community, the WTA will facilitate communications and be the answer to any business or industry questions that call for training solutions.

“This is certainly a step forward,” said Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr., Chancellor of BPCC, “We believe this to be the largest collaboration of this kind in the state and will give us an edge in attracting, training, and retaining a skilled workforce.”

Each college has a workforce unit that provides short-term training. This alliance will not jeopardize the existing relationships between colleges and their partner industries; instead, the WTA will be an additional resource to ensure long-term success and collaboration. Companies with contracts, agreements, or relationships with their college will continue working with them.

Louisiana Tech sets records in Spring 2022 commencement

In three ceremonies Saturday, Louisiana Tech University welcomed 1,134 graduates to its alumni family of 110,610 graduates around the world. This class is the largest in University history.

Eight new officers were commissioned in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. Louisiana Tech also commissioned the state’s first Space Force cadet, Russell Cullen Stultz of Natchitoches.

In addition, Louisiana Tech recognized a record number of students who graduated with 4.0 grade point averages – 38.

Thirty students received their doctoral degrees (AuD, EdD, or PhD), also breaking a University record for a single quarter. During the 2021-22 academic year, Louisiana Tech has awarded 70 doctoral degrees.

Johnson announces $500K grant for SUSLA to spur aviation jobs

United States Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) announced in January that Southern University at Shreveport received a $500,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to generate interest in and prepare students to pursue aviation maintenance careers.

“It’s imperative that we have a dynamic workforce available to meet the demands of our rapidly evolving economy,” Johnson said. “Southern University will be a great steward of this award—the largest grant offered by the FAA—and I’m grateful that the agency is investing in the young people of north Louisiana.”

In 2018, Congress identified and addressed a projected shortage of aviation maintenance technical workers by providing the FAA with authority to distribute grants to educational institutions across the country, aimed at setting students on a career path in the aviation industry.

Dr. Marcus Jones invested as Northwestern State’s 20th president

The Northwestern State University family and the Natchitoches community marked a day of celebration as Dr. Marcus Jones was formally installed as the university’s 20th president on Sept. 9. 

Jones was named Northwestern State’s president in November 2021, having served as interim president since the retirement of Dr. Chris Maggio in July 2021. 

Jones has an extensive academic, business and legal background, having served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Louisiana System for the past year, where oversaw the areas of business finance, internal/external audit function, EEO and IT for the System and handled matters of system level importance on behalf of the UL System president.  He also oversaw management of budgets, administration, policies and procedures and international relations and acted as the legal liaison for the System. 

Jones was NSU’s executive vice president for university and business affairs from 2017-2020 where he was a key administrator in the planning, operation and management of the University.  He has been a member of Northwestern’s faculty since 1994 as an instructor of business, assistant professor of business law and international business, associate professor of business law and international business and has held the Ben D. Johnson Endowed Professorship since 1999.  

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