The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) recently released policy recommendations to help stabilize public education and address the dire workforce needs facing our state as Louisiana phases out of the initial response to COVID-19.
“As with so many crises in Louisiana’s past, this is the moment to define our future,” said LABI Senior Vice President Camille Conaway. “Now is not the time to maintain the status quo, but to aggressively work together to change our historic weaknesses – thousands of impoverished Louisianans in poor health with low-skilled and low-wage jobs. This is the window of opportunity to innovate and boldly suggest a new path forward.”
LABI’s recommendations address challenges across Louisiana’s educational system, including early childhood, K-12 and higher education, as well as workforce development. The proposals are rooted in best practices and were developed after research and dialogue with both Louisiana and national experts and stakeholders.
As part of these recommendations, LABI urges the state to consider utilizing the discretionary education funds in the federal stimulus for strategies such as:
• Financial support for safe, high-quality childcare providers and workers who will enable the re-opening of the economy through their service and sacrifice;
• Teacher training and support as well as necessary revisions to curriculum and testing to help keep students on grade level as they enter a new school year following weeks of lost learning;
• Short and long-term improvements in access to and quality of digital instruction for students in K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions;
• Personalized coaching and highquality, affordable remediation to keep college students enrolled and on track despite newfound economic hardships; and
• Rapid response training for the currently unemployed to put them on a path toward higher-wage, indemand careers.
These suggestions were shared with Gov. John Bel Edwards and his administration, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Board of Regents, and legislative leaders.
Conaway added: “Employers across the state stand ready to work with Louisiana’s leaders to push in the direction we need to go - toward a stronger, diversified economy with a more educated and skilled workforce at the helm.”