LSU Eunice Identified as Key Driver of Workforce and Entrepreneur Development in Rural Communities

April 05, 2021

Rethinking How Education ‘Works’

Achieving the Dream, a nationwide network of more than 300 community colleges, has selected seven schools it regards as “workforce and economic development engines” in rural communities. LSU Eunice (LSUE) is one of them, and the only school in Louisiana to now participate in a new Building Resiliency in Rural Communities for the Future of Work initiative to increase enrollment, retention, and student success—and ultimately employment in a changing economy and workplace.

“For us, this is an opportunity to redefine talent in our region and even rethink what education looks like in Louisiana—how education ‘works,’” said Jessica Jones, director of student success and lead for the new initiative at LSUE.

Beyond its role as a one-stop shop for associate degrees, certificates, and industry-based credentials—or as a conduit to four-year academic programs in the state—LSUE is partnering with K-12 schools and business leaders in the region to retool its curriculum with more options that are both attractive (and known) to future college students and build the skillsets that will be the most in-demand by their future employers.

“We’ve seen growing interest in micro-credentialing programs and stackable certificates,” Jones said. “We need to adjust how we deliver instruction and think more deeply about who our students really are, or could be, and their needs in the emerging digital economy. We need to build more pathways into college, and also make it easier for people who are currently in the workforce and returning learners to move more seamlessly between LSUE and the workplace.”

Someone who has put her trust in LSUE to be able to combine running her own startup and working toward a degree is business major Felicity Carrier. The 19-year-old entrepreneur is opening her own concession stand by Highway 190 this weekend, specializing in snowballs with “the softest, sorbet-like snow.” With help from LSUE, Carrier just turned her idea into a limited liability company and joined the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce as Double Dip Snowballs & More, LLC.

“I ask myself constantly if I’d done this on my own, and I don’t think so, actually,” Carrier said.

Felicity Carrier

Felicity Carrier

– LSU

“We’re thrilled to see LSU Eunice selected for the Building Resiliency in Rural Communities for the Future of Work initiative. The pandemic has exacerbated some of the challenges we have with workforce development in an extremely rural community. LSU Eunice, meanwhile, is one of the greatest assets in our region. The college’s ability to focus on also non-traditional students and provide customized education leads to huge opportunities for someone to turn their life around.”

- Amy Thibodeaux, president and CEO of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce