SSTI Digest

Geography: Louisiana

Louisiana Innovation Council Seeks Funds for Research Agenda

In a report to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget this week, the Louisiana Innovation Council set forth an agenda to recruit world-class researchers, establish centers of excellence, and facilitate university-based technology transfer. In a tight budget year, the council recommends using some of the remaining Louisiana Recovery Authority funds and private sector money to support the initiative with a minimum $15 million total commitment over three years.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber: Statewide TBED Organization Needed

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) has released the second and final component of its strategy advocating the need to advance a tech-based economy throughout Louisiana. The white paper focuses on the topics of entrepreneurship, workforce development, risk capital, and coordinating TBED efforts at the state level. For example, BRAC calls for all returns from state funds invested in venture capital firms to be reinvested, for regional angel networks to be supported, and for the state’s angel investor tax credit to be reinstated. The second part of The Innovation Economy in Louisiana is available at:

Federal Stimulus Supplementing State TBED in Governors' Budget Proposals

For many states facing a challenging budget year, level funding for science and technology is welcome news to the tech-based economic development (TBED) community. With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year, governors are seeking solutions to stimulate their respective states' economies through new and expanded programs within specific priority areas. The following states recently unveiled budget proposals that would continue or grow TBED investments using a combination of federal stimulus money and state and local funds.

Louisiana Redirects Workforce Investments toward Emerging Industries

The Louisiana State Legislature recently approved several bills as part of a comprehensive package designed to revamp the state’s workforce development programs to focus on job training in emerging industries to ensure these fields have a highly qualified labor pool in the coming years.
The workforce reform package is centered on the creation of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which will replace the state’s Department of Labor. The new commission will oversee the entire workforce development system and is charged with integrating workforce development initiatives through educational and training programs, with the purpose of developing a highly skilled workforce. A Workforce Investment Council also will be established to set workforce training priorities based on input from business leaders.
With an estimated 100,000 job vacancies across the state, lawmakers also passed legislation aimed at helping companies fill current workforce needs. HB 1018 establishes the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Workforce Training Rapid Response Fund and dedicates $10 million annually to supplement the cost of high-demand workforce training programs at community and technical colleges. The type of training programs to receive funding will be determined by market demand and economic and employment projections, according to the governor’s office.
The passage of these bills will help achieve the goals in the Louisiana: Vision 20/20 strategic plan, recommended by Gov. Bobby Jindal earlier this year (see the March 5, 2008 issue of the Digest). The approved budget for fiscal year 2008-09 includes several proposals championed by the governor for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, including:

People & TBED Organizations

Publisher's Note: SSTI notes with much sadness the March 5 passing of Indiana State Sen. David Ford, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. David was a good friend not only of SSTI's, but also of the tech-based economic development community across the nation. In addition to being a tireless and cheerful advocate for investing in science and technology, he was also a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and we miss him greatly.

Funds to Improve Existing Industries Prominent in Louisiana Budget

Gov. Bobby Jindal unveiled his fiscal year 2008-09 budget to the legislature last week, focusing heavily on improving the existing workforce and creating a business climate that encourages entrepreneurship.


The governor’s recommendation for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (DED) is $29.2 million in general funds, down $11.2 million from last year. The recommendation for total funds is $85.9 million, down from $201 million last year. The reduction is largely due to nonrecurring funding and interagency transfers and will not impact the department’s services in the coming fiscal year, according to budget documents. Workforce and economic development initiatives slated for funding include:


Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal has appointed Stephen Moret as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. Moret will assume his new post on Jan. 14, leaving behind his duties as president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.

Louisiana Injects $28.5M for TBED

The Louisiana Recovery Authority and the Louisiana Board of Regents recently unveiled a $28.5 million Research Commercialization and Educational Enhancement Program to stimulate economic development within the portions of the state severely impacted by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Funds for this program originate from the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) appropriated by the federal government.


State officials report how Louisiana suffered $400 million in damage to research facilities and infrastructure after the hurricanes. Furthermore, officials report the aggressive recruitment of key research faculty by out-of-state institutions as another threat to future development and economic recovery. While Louisiana had a strong pre-hurricane research capacity, it lacked a coordinated and focused strategy to drive new company creation, market development, and marketing opportunities, according to an action plan developed by the state.


The highlights of the RC/EEP program include the following components:


Louisiana State University appointed Brooks Keel as its new vice chancellor for research and economic development.


Carolina Cruz is the first director of the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, a $20 million research facility developed jointly by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Louisiana Economic Development Authority.

Tech Talkin' Govs 2006, Part Five

The first four installments of SSTI's look at how tech-based economic development (TBED) will play in the 2006 legislative priorities of the governors can be found in the Digest archives at:

TBED Mergers, Consolidations & New Starts

Sometimes, the economic advantages of consolidating state and local initiatives addressing different elements of building tech-based economies outweighs any potential dilution of specific efforts. Other times, the addition of an entirely new entity is required to provide concentrated focus on specific needs or activities. Here are a few of the most recent examples of the realignment of the TBED community: