LSUA Chancellor Paul Coreil announced the development of a new Center for Technology Innovation that will provide hands-on cybersecurity training designed to equip graduates entering the central Louisiana workforce with specialized, in-demand technology skills. The State of Louisiana, with the support of the central Louisiana legislative delegation, provided initial funding for the “Technovation Center” project with a $561,000 Louisiana Economic Development award supporting workforce development in the state’s rapidly expanding tech sector.
“We are committed to growing and diversifying our economy by giving Louisianans the skills they need to get good-paying jobs,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “LSUA and our other higher education institutions are building a talent pipeline for Louisiana’s expanding cybersecurity industry, and I want to encourage the people of Louisiana to take advantage of these workforce training opportunities.”
Cybersecurity is a significant component of the “Scholarship First” agenda developed and implemented by LSU System President Dr. William F. Tate IV. LSUA has embraced this priority to address the critical workforce demands of the digital economy. A key focus of the center will be a new cybersecurity lab environment offering real-time threat mitigation training, preparing graduates for full-time job placements at top-tier information security businesses across the region.
“The support of the state and this important LED program will significantly enhance our ability to further develop cybersecurity and advanced technology training so critically needed in the Central Region,” Dr. Coreil said. “Our goal is to provide the business community with well-trained cybersecurity graduates ready to meet the workforce demands that continue to grow across the region.”
Additional academic programs supported by the Technovation Center will include:
- Computer Science – training in systems and networks, database design and management, software engineering and bioinformatics.
- Professional Aviation – preparing students for certification as commercial pilots, to address the nation’s critical pilot shortage directly impacting Alexandria’s airport.
- Unmanned Aircraft – preparing students for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle pilot certification, which will support economic development across a range of sectors including agriculture, forestry, insurance and law enforcement.
LSUA also plans to utilize the Technovation Center for co-curricular programming and events for education, business, and government collaborators. Programming will include drone (unmanned aircraft) training and competitions at an on-campus drone park, robotics competitions, and access to the cybersecurity range and digital communication lab.
LSUA is developing the Technovation Center and supporting its other innovation initiatives through industry partnerships, including Ingalls Information Security for cybersecurity; the Rapides Parish School Board for robotics; the U.S. Department of Defense for the STARBASE program at Fort Polk; Louisiana State Police for unmanned aerial vehicles; RoyOMartin for accounting and data analytics; and England Airpark for aviation management.
“Keeping up with advances in technology is critical to Louisiana’s success,” said Sen. Glen Womack, who was instrumental in building legislative awareness and support for the center. “With the financial investment from the State and the leadership of Louisiana Economic Development, LSUA’s Technology Innovation Center will position central Louisiana as a leader in educating our workforce in cybersecurity and other innovative technologies.”
“We appreciate LED Secretary Don Pierson’s leadership and understanding of the need for innovation and this commitment to cybersecurity workforce training in the Central Region,” Coreil added. “LSUA looks forward to continuing our LED partnership, which is equally beneficial to our students and Louisiana businesses that face ever-changing cyber threats.”