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Louisiana Tech: Growing our Technology Economy - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Louisiana Tech: Growing our Technology Economy

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RUSTON, La -

Louisiana is growing its technology economy with companies like CSC setting up shop.

However, it's a group effort to get big companies like that to move in.

"CSC is the Computer Science Corporation. It is a global information technology software development company that's headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and they've decided to setup operations in Bossier City," said President of Louisiana Tech University Leslie Guice.

The company projects they will hire about 800 employees once they are fully operational.

It's great to hear about new jobs coming to the community but the business moving in needs to hear we have qualified candidates for those positions.

"Number one on any company's list to move into an area is the talent," said Guice, "the opportunity to find a highly qualified workforce available in the area."

VP for Research and Development at Louisiana Tech Stan Napper says there were three main reasons why CSC came here:

 

- government incentives

- what Bossier could offer, like land

- Louisiana Tech

 

"If they didn't feel like they were a university they could work with and they could find enough graduates to employ, they wouldn't be here," said Napper.

So, the university in Ruston is part of an agreement with CSC to help supply the workforce.

"Our commitment is to quadruple the production of our graduates in these computer related disciplines over the next six or seven years," said Guice.

He says that means new programs at Tech.

"We're able to design special courses and special programs to meet the needs of the employees that they're going to have to fill," said Guice.

"Students need to know there are lots of different kinds of jobs in a big company like this," added Napper. "It may not be what they perceive as their traditional computer science programming job. There are lots of different jobs that involve information technology and different aspects of computers even hardware and software."

Dr. Dave Norris, Executive Director of Enterprise and Economic Development at Tech, says the school already has some great programs that help get students ready for the technology workforce --- like the Fenway Group.

They come up with technology solutions using creative design.

"They deliver work to their clients and they also enhance the skill set of students at Louisiana Tech by working with those students to deliver the work for their corporate clients," said Norris.

Dr. Norris says even if graduates don't get a job at a place like CSC, big corporations tend to attract more businesses which means more jobs.

"You'll see that ripple effect across the region," he said, "other companies that want to be close to where that operation is because they're a vendor or client in some way of Computer Science Corporation."

However, preparing students for the jobs of today is only half the battle.

"The other half of the university's job is to lead and think ahead about not just the economy that we have today, but that we want to have ten years from now," said Norris.

That's why Dr. Guice is always looking for the next big opportunity.

"We're working aggressively right now to recruit other companies into this north Louisiana area and Shreveport," he said. "I think it's important for the future of the state that we attract more companies here and grow these."

Dr. Guice says to help supply the workforce of the technology industry Louisiana Tech has aggressive enrollment goals for the next several years.

He says he eventually hopes to have about a thousand graduates a year in technology related fields.

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