Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014

UNO Expected to Get $1.8 Million through WISE Fund

Money Earmarked for High-Demand Programs

Surrounded by higher education system leaders from across Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 1033 into action on June 20, 2014. The bill, introduced by La. Rep. Charles E. “Chuck” Kleckley (R-Lake Charles), created the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, also known as the WISE fund.Surrounded by higher education system leaders from across Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 1033 into action on June 20, 2014. The bill, introduced by La. Rep. Charles E. "Chuck" Kleckley (R-Lake Charles), created the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, also known as the WISE fund.

WISE Fund Panel

UNO will host a WISE Fund Panel Forum today at 3 p.m. in the Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center.

The University of New Orleans is expected to receive approximately $1.8 million in state money to enhance its programs in engineering, computer science and accounting. The funds are available through the $40 million Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund, which was proposed by state higher education leaders, supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal and passed by the state legislature earlier this year.

"The University of New Orleans is committed to supporting job growth in high-demand areas," said Richard Hansen, interim vice president for academic affairs. "These targeted funds will allow already strong academic programs to build an even stronger long-term approach to meeting high-need employment demands that support economic development in the New Orleans region and the state of Louisiana. Importantly, our students and faculty will be provided additional tools and academic infrastructure to succeed."

Louisiana's public colleges and universities competed for a share of the money, largely based on the degrees and certificates each institution produces in high-demand fields. Last week, the University of Louisiana System Board approved UNO's plan for spending its WISE Fund money. The plan must still be approved by the WISE Council and the Louisiana Board of Regents.

UNO will use its share to increase the number of graduates and support the academic programs in the high-demand, high-need areas of accounting, computer science and engineering. It will offer $240,000 in new student scholarships as well as hire a new high-demand career coordinator to identify, recruit and accelerate the career paths of students interested in these majors.

In addition, the University plans to increase research productivity in each of the state's top five master plan priority areas: life sciences, digital media and computing, coastal and water management, and advanced materials and manufacturing.

Instructional labs in math, computer science and engineering will receive $240,000 worth of upgrades. Money will also be used to both retain faculty members in accounting and computer science as well as hire additional faculty members in computer science, engineering and film.

UNO will host a WISE Fund Panel Forum today at 3 p.m. in the Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center. The event, which will feature a discussion of Louisiana's new workforce incentive fund by higher education and industry leaders, is sponsored by the Committee of 100, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association.

 

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