Growing the STEM Workforce in Northeast Louisiana

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CenturyLink Executive Vice President Stacey Goff announced plans to bring STEM education to Monroe City and Ouachita Schools.

CenturyLink, Inc., a Fortune 159 technology company based in Monroe, LA, is partnering with the City of Monroe, the Monroe City School System, the Ouachita Parish School System and the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) to bring a nationally recognized STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum to local students.

“CenturyLink is dedicated to enhancing the communities it serves in a meaningful way and is excited to help bring 21st century skills and curricula to local students,” said Stacey Goff, executive vice president and general counsel for CenturyLink. “We recognize the importance of introducing young people to STEM concepts to better prepare them for successful careers and to build the pipeline with future employees.”

“Partnerships in Education is number 40 on my 60 for 60 project list,” said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo. “The City of Monroe is extremely proud to invest in this educational program. STEM competencies help prepare students to be critical thinkers, persevere through challenges, communicate and collaborate to solve complex problems. This effort will help produce a larger highly trained workforce that will benefit northeastern Louisiana as our region continues to grow and prosper.”

“One of the CIC’s primary missions is to develop a sustainable, knowledge-based workforce that can support the growing needs of government, industry, and academia,” said Craig Spohn, executive director & president of the Cyber Innovation Center.

In 2010, the CIC created the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) to advance its academic outreach and workforce development programs across the nation. NICERC works with its partners to design project-driven, application-based curricula that engage students across primary, secondary, and post-secondary grade levels. The Department of Homeland Security identified NICERC as the national model for cyber education and thus allows for the free distribution of content and curricula.

“CenturyLink is also focused on mitigating cyberattacks for our customers with viable cybersecurity strategies,” Goff said. “This is another area where students can focus their skills as these preventative strategies must address increasingly wide-ranging issues to be effective.”

The robust library of curricula, The Cyber InterstateTM, contains numerous full-year, K-12 courses that are modular in form and hands-on. This design provides teachers and school systems with a rigorous program that showcases a systems-level understanding of real-world applications of STEM and cyber. In addition, this context-based approach to STEM incorporates components of liberal arts, allowing teachers to embed the curricula across multiple disciplines.

“Bringing this program to our schools will help open a world of options to our students,” said Dr. Brent Vidrine, superintendent of the Monroe City School System. “Our teachers are dedicated to preparing our kids for the future and this will be a huge step toward doing that.”

“I couldn’t agree more with the other partners who have helped bring this opportunity to our students that the benefits will be far reaching and meaningful,” said Dr. Don Coker, superintendent of the Ouachita Parish School System. “Anytime we can offer courses that will help our students compete when initiating their careers, we accomplish a win-win for them and our communities.”

Supporting the Technology Cluster with Workforce Recruitment

The expansion of a STEM curriculum into local schools is but one of the many initiatives underway to nurture and grow our technology cluster. To support the workforce needs of our employers in Northeast Louisiana, community partners have launched a workforce recruitment and retention initiative, based on rebranding the metro area around Monroe, LA.  By marketing a four-parish region in Northeast Louisiana, our communities are working to attract and retain the high-tech workforce needed to support the growth of a technology corridor.

The Branding Project includes a Northeast Louisiana Digital Neighbors Program. Digital Neighbors are a connected group of people who are passionate about sharing on social media all the reasons why Northeast Louisiana is a great place to live, work and play. We are now recruiting community champions to join a growing group of Digital Neighbors. It’s easy to become part of this program- just click here to register your social media networks.

Once you have signed up, you will receive weekly emails with positive stories about our region. After viewing each email, you have the option to share ready-made content on your Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn with a simple click of the “share now” button.

Cybersecurity Summit sponsored by CenturyLink

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As part of its efforts to create a world-class technology hub in Northeast Louisiana, CenturyLink is hosting “Connect and Protect 2017: A Cybersecurity Summit” on March 8th at its headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana. High-ranking government officials, senior CenturyLink executives and national cybersecurity experts will discuss how you can build a digital fortress for your organization during the day-long seminar.

Prominent names on the national cyber security scene such as Dr. Phyllis Schneck,

Former Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and Steven Chabinsky, Global Chair of Data, Privacy and Cyber Security for White and Case, an international law firm, will speak. Chief Executive Officer and President of CenturyLink Glen F. Post, III, will also address the summit participants.

John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s 56th Governor and Member of the National Governors Association’s Cybersecurity Policy Academy, will also deliver remarks at the first Cybersecurity Summit to be held in North Louisiana. Register Here>>>

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