LAFAYETTE, La. — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette plans to funnel about $1.3 million into new faculty positions and personnel who will focus on producing more graduates in engineering, computing and nursing to meet workforce needs.
The money is part of the university’s $2 million allocation from the state’s new competitive Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund that enabled universities and colleges to apply for a share of $40 million to create or expand existing programs to meet workforce demands. The Legislature approved the new program and set aside the funds for state higher education institutions.
“This is an opportunity to build capacity,” said Ramesh Kolluru, the university’s vice president of research. “About $1.3 million will go into personnel and into hiring research and instructional faculty in those three areas so we can support the growth numbers that companies and the workforce need.”
Katara Williams, Board of Regents assistant commissioner of public affairs, tells The Advocate universities will have access to the funds in December. The Regents’ executive committee approved institutions’ plans earlier this month, and an approval by the full board at its meeting next month is a formality.
Kolluru said students could feel the impact of the new money as early as the spring. About $320,000 is available for student scholarships and assistantships, and the new faculty will enable the university to open up more high-demand courses.
“Our plans have been developed,” Kolluru said. “We are poised and ready to pull the trigger and to execute on the plan when we know the funds are available.”
The financial boost will help fund seven faculty positions and two student recruitment and retention coordinator jobs. Another $320,000 will be used to create and upgrade research and instructional labs.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com