Louisiana’s High-Tech Talent
With its existing workforce and through strategic investments in higher education programs, Louisiana is on the path to becoming one of the top states in computer science graduate production.
Technology companies in Louisiana have ready access to a skilled workforce that includes over 23,000 informational technology professionals. Software and digital media clusters are emerging around the state in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport, bolstering Louisiana’s vision of a technology ecosystem.
Louisiana is committed to rapidly growing its current and future software workforce through investments totaling more than $38 million in the computer science and engineering departments of higher education institutions across the state, including Louisiana State University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans, Louisiana Tech University, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. These investments were made in conjunction with project announcements in the state by CGI, CSRA, IBM, GE and CenturyLink.
Strategic Investments in Higher Education Expand Talent Pipeline
As part of the IBM project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana committed to invest $14 million over 10 years in computer science programs — with at least 65 percent of those funds dedicated to the LSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This funding will enable LSU to double its computer science faculty and triple the number of annual computer science graduates within five years. For IBM, this partnership allows for input on university curricula and delivers the talent pipeline to meet the workforce needs of IBM and others.
“In any decision like this there are myriad factors that contribute to the decision. But for us it ultimately came down to the strength of the technology skills pipeline — the sheer potential of the people in Louisiana — and the quality of the partnership we’re building with the public sector on multiple levels — the state, Baton Rouge and the university system.”
As a component of GE’s 300-job technology center in New Orleans, Louisiana is providing $500,000 per year for 10 years to higher education institutions to fund software development-focused academic programs in New Orleans. These programs are being developed in a collaborative process that includes LED, GE and higher-education leaders, with a focus on growing the future software development talent pipeline in the area.
Through LED FastStart®, GE and the University of New Orleans have established an innovative Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SWEAP), designed to provide GE with highly trained and immediately productive graduates.
LED FastStart Delivers Customized Workforce Solutions
LED FastStart, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program, provides customized services for software development companies locating or expanding in the state – all at no cost to the company.
With only one goal, client satisfaction, FastStart partners with each company’s subject matter experts to analyze and study their unique workforce requirements. After determining the competencies that match the cultural and technical abilities that define the most successful employee, the FastStart team employs both traditional and innovative methods to recruit talent to meet each company’s specific requirements.
“The people here have an amazing energy and friendly way that can only be understood when you visit. We’re proud to be part of the first wave of companies that will help establish Louisiana as the next major high-tech center.”
For GE, LED FastStart was able to provide workforce analytics identifying sources of talent available to the company, including in-state professionals, graduate and undergraduate statistics and out-of-state recruiting. FastStart then executed a custom recruiting plan to address GE’s specific needs. At the dedication of the Technology Center in April 2013, GE announced they were ahead of their hiring schedule.
FastStart also assisted IBM with recruiting, including at job fairs both in and out of Louisiana, as well as through online advertising. By September 2013, IBM had hired more than 100 employees — a milestone the company was not scheduled to reach until June 2014.