LAFAYETTE — While an infusion of $40 million is on the table for colleges and universities to help fill workforce needs, a steady stream of funding is needed in future years to meet demands for educated and trained workers, said Willie Smith, who oversees workforce development for South Louisiana Community College.
Smith shared information about the $40 million Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, or WISE Fund, during a forum Wednesday organized by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
The forum featured Smith and two other panelists, Barry Erwin
, president and CEO of the Council for a Better Louisiana, and Laci Maniscalco, a third-grade teacher at Broadmoor Elementary
and a teacher-leader
on the Common Core State Standards.
The WISE Fund was approved during the legislative session that ended in June to provide incentives to align educational and training programs with workforce demands.
“There’s a great deal of demand out there,” said Smith, SLCC’s vice chancellor of economic and workforce development.