Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Grambling State University President Rick Gallot and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson as they signed a $1.2 million Memorandum of Understanding to advance technology careers for Grambling State students.
Through the MOU, Grambling State and LED will establish a Technology Advisory Council that solidifies industry relationships with leading technology employers, including CenturyLink, IBM, GDIT, Microsoft, DXC Technology and CGI. Those relationships will strengthen university degree programs in computer science and computer information systems, while also informing Grambling State’s new cybersecurity program, the state’s first bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.
Grambling State faculty will participate in externships with major technology employers in Louisiana, and students will benefit from scholarships, internships, apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities that align student learning with the needs of those technology employers.
“Grambling State University is not only one of the most important Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Grambling is one of our most successful HBCUs,” Gov. Edwards said. “Under President Gallot’s leadership, Grambling is laser-focused on preparing its students for career success. With a strong commitment to computer science and cybersecurity, with a strategic location on the I-20 Cyber Corridor, and with our state commitment to grow technology careers here, Grambling is poised for greater success as a technology leader in higher education.”
The MOU, which covers four academic years through 2023, comes as Grambling State University develops the first digital library on an HBCU campus. That 50,000-square-foot structure is slated for completion within two years. It will feature over 500 student computer stations and more than 17,000 square feet of dedicated study space. Among other initiatives, the MOU will fund student success specialists who help high school and community college students bridge the transition to challenging degree programs at Grambling State, and then advance to successful technology careers.
“Grambling State University is grateful for the growing support we are receiving,” Gallot said. “These investments will amplify the innovative work of our students and faculty. The support from LED and our corporate partners will help position us to lead in responding to the economic opportunity in our state. Together, we are ensuring that our university’s long legacy of developing innovative workforce leaders will continue for generations to come.”
LED FastStart®, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program, will lead the MOU with Grambling State University. FastStart will combine the capabilities of Grambling State and its relationships with regional higher education peers – including Louisiana Tech University, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Northwestern State University, Southern University at Shreveport, Louisiana Delta Community College and Bossier Parish Community College – to advance student success across multiple software, information technology and STEM disciplines.
During the past decade, the State of Louisiana has funded over $200 million in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, investments linking economic development project wins with higher education campuses. Those STEM investments are producing more than 20,000 new technology jobs in Louisiana.
“In LED FastStart, we have the perfect vehicle to accelerate the cybersecurity and computer science success that Grambling State University already is championing,” Pierson said. “This MOU will harness the strengths of higher education and our leading tech employers on the I-20 Cyber Corridor to forge a next-generation workforce at Grambling State. We can’t wait to get started.”