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Governor works with business leaders to improve state’s economy

Posted: 6:21 PM, Aug 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-22 19:30:39-04

Governor John Bel Edwards and Acadiana business leaders are working to find ways to improve the state’s economy.

The Governor met with those business leaders at SLCC and answered questions about what concerns they have after this year’s three special budget sessions. One of the Governor’s goals is to strengthen the ties between business and education.

“We’re in a much better place today than we have been in Louisiana for a long time,” said Edwards.

The Governor is proud the state was able to fully fund higher education and TOPS. Edwards says education is key to attracting business in Louisiana.

“We know that we’re getting investments from companies who either want to expand their presence in Louisiana or have a new presence in Louisiana, but only after we convince them that they’ll have access to the trained, educated, skilled workforce they need to be successful,” Edwards said.

He believes community colleges like SLCC play a vital role of delivering the workforce businesses are searching for.

“We’re going to tie the benefits of having that predictable, stable stream of revenue, a responsible budget with what we’re doing in higher education in Louisiana,” said Edwards. “It really is putting us on a greater path of prosperity not only here in Lafayette, but all around the state of Louisiana.”

SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder says business is the connection to community and it’s important to work together to move the state forward.

“We have to have a smart, educated and trained citizenry. With the help of businesses, we continue to make our case to the legislature and the Governor’s office to increase the investment in higher education,” said Harder.

She believes Louisiana needs different sectors of higher ed to meet the employment needs of the state.

“You’ll find that many of the states that are resilient in economic downturns tend to whether those challenges better when their folks are better educated,” said Harder. “They realize higher ed is an investment, not just an expense.”