BATON ROUGE, La. – To meet the education and workforce needs of the state’s future economy, the Louisiana Board of Regents announced today that 60% of Louisiana’s citizens need a college degree or high-value credential by the year 2030 to remain competitive. Currently, only 43.4% of working age adults (age 25-64) in Louisiana have achieved this level of education compared to 46.9% nationally. The increased attainment goal will be the cornerstone of the Board of Regents new Master Plan, scheduled to be adopted in early 2019.
“The Master Plan is a critical component of our work,” said Regents Chairman Robert W. Levy. “It is a detailed roadmap guiding the coordination and advocacy work of our agency. It will provide a narrative on the importance of talent development and how it can drive transformational change in Louisiana, bringing people out of poverty and into prosperity.”
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimates 53% of jobs in 2020 will require a degree or high-quality credential. In this changing environment, it will be critical for Louisiana’s colleges and universities to dramatically increase the number of citizens with a credential beyond high schoool.
“By increasing the educational attainment of our citizens, we improve lives,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “We produce taxpayers who are civically engaged, who drive our economy and who attract new industry to our state. Increased talent development at every level is critical to fuel a more robust and diverse Louisiana economy.”
Commissioner Reed says the next steps for Regents is to engage with the LSU, Southern, University of Louisiana and Louisiana Community and Technical College Systems as well as the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (LAICU) to advance the attainment goal discussion and the action plan needed to reach the goal. She indicated that initial meetings with the system presidents were extremely supportive and that active engagement from a broad spectrum of stakeholders is critical for success.
In addition to their regular monthly meeting, Regents also met jointly with the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as they do annually, by law. Much of the discussion between and among the members of both boards focused around dual enrollment and how to increase participation as a way to improve overall attainment in the state.
Approximately 31,500 or 23% of Louisiana’s K-12 students participated in dual enrollment courses in 2017-18. Dual enrollment increases college enrollment, reduces the time to degree for students attending four-year universities, allows high school seniors to achieve both a high-value workforce credential/certificate and a diploma before graduation, and improves overall educational outcomes.
However, several challenges identified by both BESE and Regents, including the lack of a statewide framework for dual enrollment and funding, have limited participation especially in rural areas of the state. According to the Department of Education, in some parishes, students participate in dual enrollment at no cost, while in other regions students are charged for attending classes resulting in varied access based on where students live.
“It’s an equity issue and an issue of fairness,” said State Superintendent of Education John White. “Ultimately, we need a statewide framework for dual enrollment like Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin. We’re lucky that we have Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed here in Louisiana because she led a coordinated dual enrollment effort during her time in Colorado and we look forward to collaborating with her on this matter.”
“We need a solution that works for all students, not just some students,” said Commissioner Reed. “We need to address these difficult challenges and walk this journey together placing students first. Today is a great example of the synergy between our boards and we commit to bringing solutions forward.”
In other business, the Board of Regents elevated Regent Marty J. Chabert of Chauvin, Louisiana to the role of Chairman. Chabert replaces Regent Robert W. Levy, a long serving member who oversaw the selection of a new Commissioner of Higher Education earlier this year.
Additionally, Regent Collis B. Temple of Baton Rouge will serve as Vice Chairman alongside Regent Blake David of Lafayette as Secretary. The remaining Executive Committee members selected include: Regent Claudia Adley of Bossier City, Regent Randy Ewing of Ruston, Regent Sonia Perez of Baton Rouge and Regent Jay Seale of Hammond.