More than 100 LSU Online Programs Help Job Seekers and Employers Adapt to Change
April 07, 2021
‘Upskilling’ the Workforce
There is a tremendous need for many Louisianans to get back to work amid the ongoing global pandemic. At the same time, 50% of those who’ve remained employed will need some reskilling or updated training—most likely in technology—by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum’s recent Future of Jobs Report. How do we, as a state, shore up this demand for new and technological skills to get the economy back on track?
The answer lies in adaptation. The pandemic accelerated life online. From telemedicine to online grocery shopping, the companies and institutions that are agile enough to pivot and meet a virtual audience where they are have been able to adapt, survive, and even thrive.
LSU is no different. Now, with more than 100 programs online, students from all walks of life can get the same degree from anywhere. The number of undergraduates who enrolled in LSU Online increased by 175% last fall. From the Baton Rouge campus alone, LSU has graduated more than 2,500 online students. They include those who started with a high school diploma and were facing an extremely competitive job market, or left the workforce in 2020 to take care of their families.
Social worker Jo Anna Fisher’s career did not skip a beat, despite the pandemic and loss of a family member. A resident of Mooringsport (population 600, northwest of Shreveport), Fisher enrolled in the online Master of Social Work program last spring and earned her degree in December. She is now working full-time as a mental health professional at Brighter Futures Counseling Services in Shreveport, where she counsels 10 to 12 clients ranging in age from 7 years old to older adults.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this job without the degree I have,” she said.
LSU is also working directly with employers, such as Baton Rouge-based Turner Industries, to help their employees learn new skills.
“LSU Online & Continuing Education has been our public training provider for more than two decades. We have enrolled over 3,500 employees in more than 6,000 training opportunities aimed to upskill and retain our current workforce. I have seen firsthand how these programs have prepared our skilled craftspeople to move into leadership positions and thrive in those roles. This advancement creates career opportunities at all levels in our organization.”- Ray Neck, director of workforce development at Turner Industries Group