Board to vote on $1 million WISE Fund grant
BATON ROUGE - Community college leaders are scheduled to vote on a $1 million contribution from JPMorgan Chase that would use the WISE Fund to pay for more workforce training in Louisiana.
If approved, the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund would match the contribution 4-for-1, making a $5 million total contribution to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. It would be the first approved use of the WISE Fund, which set aside $40 million as incentives for higher education.
The money would be used to expand the availability of LCTCS courses which would help give people the skills needed to fill a 8,000 worker gap forecasted by LCTCS to materialize in the state over the next five to ten years.
"We are in the midst of the greatest economic expansion of our time," said Monty Sullivan, president of Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges. "Today's investment will help our colleges meet the demand and improve lives."
More than $80 billion of large-scale energy construction projects are scheduled in Louisiana over next 5 years, according to LCTCS. The International Monetary Fund estimates one-third of U.S. unemployment is due to the skills gap, and the National Skills Coalition estimates 56 percent of job openings in Louisiana over the next eight years will be middle-skilled.
JPMorgan Chase has 3,400 employees in Louisiana, making it one of the largest non-governmental employers in the state.