Louisiana Tech creating high-tech workforce to meet growing needs of state, region

Nov 26, 2014 | General News

— Programs producing graduates to lead new industries, opportunities throughout Louisiana —
Recent rankings and reports show that the State of Louisiana has become fertile soil for companies and industries looking to expand their operations and seeking talent that can lead their organizations into the future. Through innovative academic programs and industry partnerships as well as support funding from the state, Louisiana Tech University is preparing students to fill the workforce pipeline and expand Louisiana’s knowledge economy.
Louisiana Tech is actively working with leading global companies to develop program curricula and experiences that will serve the economic and business development needs of our state while providing the best and brightest graduates with career opportunities here at home. These activities are also being supported by the State of Louisiana through the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) program, which seeks to strategically align new investments in higher education with the workforce needs and emerging growth sectors in the state’s economy.
Fall Commencement 11/15/2014, Saturday, 11/15/2014, Ruston, LA, photo by Donny J Crowe, Copyright:Louisiana Tech University.All Rights Reserved.( 318-257-4854Specifically, faculty and administrators in Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science and College of Business are working together on ways to increase graduates in high-demand fields such engineering, computer science, computer information systems, marketing and analysis, accounting, finance and management. Louisiana Tech is also focused on increasing student success, preparedness of graduates to work in targeted industries, and partnerships with industry in the areas of education, research and innovation.
“Louisiana Tech has engaged several key strategic private sector partners who currently hire our graduates and are seeking to hire additional graduates as we are able to produce them,” said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. “These partners also serve on our advisory boards and are actively contributing to curriculum and program development so that we can ensure our graduates are prepared to make immediate impacts in the workplace, in these critical areas of need.”
One of the program areas where Louisiana Tech is already having a significant industry and workforce impact is cyber engineering. Cyber engineering is a multidisciplinary program that integrates both electrical engineering and computer science, and concentrates on engineering in the cyberspace domain with a focus on security. It also incorporates a liberal arts perspective that engages cyber engineers in the political and social issues presented in cyberspace.
“There is a constantly growing need for scientists, engineers and practitioners to gather and employ today’s information in order to improve our lives and develop innovative solutions to solve the problems of the future,” explains Dr. Sumeet Dua, professor of computer science and director of Louisiana Tech’s computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, cyber engineering and electrical engineering technology programs. “Cyber growth, while opening several doors of opportunity, offers its fair share of threats. Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing threats in the world, posing risk to everyone’s privacy, finances and more.”
Another high-impact and high-demand area for Louisiana Tech graduates is in the state’s computer information systems industry. The Computer Information Systems (CIS) program, housed in the College of Business, provides learning experiences in systems analysis, design, and implementation, project management, e-commerce, telecommunications, networking, databases, programming and interpersonal communication.
“Major companies located in north Louisiana actively recruit our students for jobs with great potential,” said Dr. Tim Bisping, interim dean of Louisiana Tech’s College of Business. “A CIS degree provides a broad range of opportunities for students to apply technology in business environments. If students are interested using information technology and developing a career with real growth potential, CIS is a great answer for them.”
CSC staff show their Bulldog Spirit during three-day curriculum development workshop at Louisiana Tech.

CSC staff show their Bulldog Spirit during three-day curriculum development workshop at Louisiana Tech.

Louisiana Tech is playing a pivotal role in growing the cyber services and network security industries, and is providing Louisiana Tech’s cyber engineering and computer information systems graduates with outstanding opportunities to connect with global industry leaders, right here in Louisiana. A partnership with global IT leader Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City was announced in February and is expected to have an 800 direct jobs impact statewide, within the next four years.
Additionally, CenturyLink’s continued growth as a leader in telecommunications and IT solutions services offers excellent opportunities for Louisiana Tech graduates to build careers and use their skills to help grow the knowledge economy of our region.
The strength of other programs in Louisiana Tech’s College of Business such as marketing and analysis, accounting, finance and management with emphases in entrepreneurship and sustainable supply chain will further target areas of need in workforce development with responsive curriculum and real-world student experiences. Louisiana Tech has the only AACSB-accredited accounting programs in Louisiana at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels. It’s sustainable supply chain management program, which focuses on helping businesses meet current and future customer demand through the cultivation, reuse and repurposing of resources in supply chain operations, was the first of its kind in the nation.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand and salaries for marketers and research analysts is expected to rise as much as 35 percent over the next ten years, while the accounting, finance, and management (specifically supply chain and entrepreneurship) fields are also expected to experience double-digit percentage growth.
Closer to home, a recent report by the Louisiana Workforce Commission further shows a significant gap between the number of positions that exist in each of these high-demand fields and the numbers of graduates coming out of Louisiana’s colleges and universities with these degrees.
Through $1.6 million in support funding provided by the WISE program and continued collaborations with its global partners, Louisiana Tech will use these resources and relationships to help fill the gap by increasing the number of majors and graduates in high-demand fields through aggressive recruitment and retention of highly-qualified students. Concurrently, the WISE program will help Louisiana Tech to increase the number of faculty in high-demand areas to align with increasing enrollments and partner with companies to increase internships, summer jobs, and other experiential learning opportunities.
Louisiana Tech is also working to expand research and innovation programs through support of faculty and student development, partner with companies to identify, develop, and deliver certificate programs or other professional development programs that can help them fulfill employment and training goals, and expand and enhance facilities to support recruiting, retention and projected growth of programs.
“We have a unique and unprecedented opportunity to provide our graduates with options for career and professional growth with global companies that have not been available to them in the past,” Guice said. “These opportunities also come with a responsibility to ensure our graduates are prepared to lead and contribute, in a variety of ways, to the growth of our region and our state. Louisiana Tech looks forward to what the future holds for our state and our students.”