The ongoing regular session offers both promise and change for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, according to President Monty Sullivan. From advocating new employment programs to navigating this year’s budget process, Sullivan says the LCTCS agenda is packed.
“Priority number one is the M.J. Foster Promise Program,” he says. “We’ve been working on it for four years and it feels like we’re at the right place in time to implement this, given the number of people unemployed and displaced by COVID.”
The program, which offers financial assistance to eligible students pursuing high-wage jobs, would be established by SB148 by Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette. The bill is scheduled for a hearing next week before the Senate Finance Committee.
Also capturing Sullivan’s attention this session is HB676 by Rep. Barbara Carpenter, D-Baton Rouge, which would create the Apprenticeship Tax Credit Program. “There may be some more work to do on that bill,” Sullivan says, “but we are looking to engage in more ways to increase apprenticeship work.”
As for the overall budget picture, the president hit only optimistic notes. “Clearly, the governor’s budget is the best budget higher ed has had in 20 years,” Sullivan says. “I’m also excited about the increases in operations and faculty pay. We have to be competitive there. It’s difficult when you’re producing graduates who will make more on day one than their instructors.”
Sullivan says his staff is also closely watching the ongoing Title IX issues being debated at the Capitol, mostly in conjunction with the handling of sexual misconduct allegations at LSU. “We’re prepared to implement whatever emerges from this process and we feel really good about being able to respond to that,” he says.
They said it: “You don’t make enough.”—Rep. Mack Cormier, D-Belle Chasse, explaining what he tells people when they ask him why he’s no longer a teacher and coach, during a committee hearing this week.