Publisher: La. must work together to meet workforce challenge


    In his latest column Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister highlights a pressing problem Louisiana is working to address that many other states would also love to be grappling with: too many jobs. “That problem is the subject of the cover story in this issue, along with how we have been challenged to solve it,” writes McCollister. “Many efforts are already underway, and as they say, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ Entrepreneurs, educators and a variety of organizations will develop new ideas we have never seen for a problem we’ve never had. But we are playing catch-up.” McCollister says Louisiana may have gotten into this situation because for years the state could be found at the bottom of many lists and losing out on projects. “Companies were leaving instead of coming, staying or expanding. And the lack of opportunity in the mid-1980s caused many families (and our future workforce) to move away,” McCollister writes. “Plus, for decades we haven’t educated our children well; now, when the jobs have come, they don’t qualify. (We are reaping what we sowed.) Now we are scrambling to catch up our training programs, community colleges and universities. Of course, our K-12 system also needs to improve to fill the pipeline.” No doubt, McCollister says, the challenge will be a big one for Louisiana. “But searching for workers to fill a surplus of jobs is vastly preferable to finding jobs for a surplus of unemployed residents,” he writes. “Louisianans must seize this historic opportunity and work together to meet the challenge, build industry, grow our businesses and improve the lives of many in our state. We can do it. We must do it.” Also in his new column, McCollister applauds the Baton Rouge Area Foundation for its new initiative to restore and enhance the LSU lakes, and gives his take on Sen. David Vitter’s recent address at the Baton Rouge Press Club. Read the full column. Send your comments to