"From healthcare companies to technology companies, whether large corporations or family-owned businesses, everyone is struggling to find people who want to work. Our workforce participation rate in Louisiana is one of the lowest in the country with only 59.5% of our residents working or looking for work. For Louisiana’s economy to experience the boom it deserves and for us to put Louisiana citizens to work in high paying jobs, I want to unlock the full potential of our workforce and move people from dependency and idleness to contributing to their personal advancement and our state's collective economic prosperity." -Sharon Hewitt
I want every Louisiana citizen to have an opportunity to get a high-paying job here in Louisiana, while acknowledging that students do not fit the one-size-fits-all model of everyone must go to college to be successful. In addition, I want Louisiana businesses to have access to a trained in-state workforce, without having to go to other states to hire talented people. This begins with re-inventing our high school, community/technical college, and university offerings to be innovative, flexible, and responsive to today’s quickly evolving job market and meet the state’s workforce needs. Our colleges and universities will have course curriculums that support degrees that meet the needs of our current industries and those that we want to attract. And our students will have seamless transfer options to minimize the time and cost of pursuing a degree.
As Governor, I will make it more affordable for students to get a head start on the education and skills they need to go to work by expanding dual-enrollment, apprenticeships, and industry-based certifications for students while earning their high school diploma. And for those who want to pursue a post-secondary credential, I will continue to champion TOPS, TOPS Tech, and the Foster Promise Program because there is no better investment of state dollars than in the people of Louisiana. I will stop the brain-drain and give our students and young adults a reason to stay in Louisiana, with multiple pathways to earning a credential of value.
When she was first elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 2016 it became obvious to Sharon that Louisiana had fallen far behind in developing enough talent in the types of technology jobs that were growing the fastest. In 2017, Senator Hewitt passed legislation creating the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (LaSTEM) Advisory Council to help chart a course for developing the right skills in our students for today and tomorrow’s workforce. Sharon also recognized that students today need multiple pathways to success and has written legislation to help address these changing needs.
As a State Senator, Sharon Hewitt has: