by Minden Press-Herald

BPCC to offer courses in construction, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing

BATON ROUGE, LA – Entergy Louisiana is committed to helping develop the workforce of the future by supporting education initiatives that tap into the rich diversity of the communities it serves.

The company announced that it will provide $1 million over three years to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Foundation to help jumpstart the MJ Foster Promise Program, a financial aid program funded by the State of Louisiana that will help qualifying residents attend two-year colleges or approved proprietary schools and receive training for high-demand jobs in growing sectors.

BPCC Chancellor Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr. was in Baton Rouge for the announcement and says, “the commitment made by Entergy will help promote the opportunity created by the MJ Foster Promise program to transform Louisiana’s talent development pipeline. This kind of alignment, in pursuit of expanded access for adult learners in our state, is what makes me most optimistic about our future. At BPCC, we have programs that are aligned with the job opportunities in our regional economy, and we schedule our courses with the adult learner in mind.”

Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May was joined during the announcement by Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Senate President Page Cortez, Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter-Reed, LCTCS President Monty Sullivan, and LCTCS Director of Advancement Tarie Roberson. The group discussed how the MJ Foster Promise Program was developed, supporting legislation and what the program solves.

“Over the last six years we have made higher education and workforce development a top priority with record investments spanning faculty pay increases to facility improvements to the creation and passage of the MJ Foster Promise Program,” said Gov. Edwards. “This promise program will help remove the financial barriers for our adult citizens to access the life changing training and career preparation that occurs at our community and technical colleges. Today’s announcement is yet another example of public-private partnerships that work for the people of Louisiana and the state’s economy. Thank you to Entergy for its generous contribution to this vitally important initiative.”

According to LCTCS, tens of thousands more adults will need to earn credentials beyond high school to fill jobs in Louisiana over the next decade. The MJ Foster Promise Program, a new $10.5 million state fund, was created to address that need by providing financial assistance to low-income residents who are 21 years or older and seek credentials required for employment in workforce areas.

Bossier Parish Community College, specifically, will offer courses in construction, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. Visit www.bpcc.edu/promise for more information and to apply. The program begins July 1, 2022.

Nearly 24% of Louisiana residents, LCTCS says, hold a high school diploma or less, and receiving training opportunities offered at the state’s community and technical colleges could create a better quality of life for them and their families.”

“We have extensively researched the educational attainment of working age adults in Louisiana, and the data is clear that we must invest in, support, and develop the 1.1 million adults who lack the skills to participate in state’s evolving economy, and the Foster Promise Program is the initial long-term strategy to upskill our people,” said Sullivan. “We are grateful to the leadership of the legislature and Governor Edwards for their continued support of workforce development. Coupled with this generous investment from Entergy we will continue working statewide to improve the student experience and to grow the pool of qualified and skilled adults.”

Entergy’s multi-year contribution will help LCTCS roll out the MJ Foster Promise Program by funding efforts to:

  • Reach qualifying residents and encourage them to take advantage of the program
  • Enhance student support services as well as the onboarding process
  • Improve infrastructure supporting enrollment and connecting students with social services
  • Supplement training equipment

 “Education is critical to providing opportunities and a better quality of life for our communities,” May said. “That’s why we’re so proud to support LCTCS’ implementation of the MJ Foster Promise Program. Good things happen when we all prosper, when we all succeed, and with the right support, I believe that is exactly what this program can accomplish.”

He added, “This is another example of local, state and private partnerships at work to create a brighter future for Louisiana. We look forward to seeing many more in our communities enter the workforce and take advantage of available quality jobs in Louisiana.”

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