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Jim Richardson
Principal, Gray's Creek Elementary School
Denham Springs, LA

UL System Graduates Are

Louisiana’s Workforce

The institutions within the University of Louisiana System produce quality graduates that create, enhance and support Louisiana’s workforce.

455,669 degrees over the last 50 years

With some of the most established institutions in the state, the UL System’s eight universities have awarded 455,669 degrees over the last 50 years. More recently, the last 10 years have seen 122,974 graduates from UL System schools that includes 91,826 bachelor’s degrees, 20,112 master’s degrees, 9,090 associate’s degrees, and 839 doctoral degrees.

Not only are UL System schools producing the majority of degrees in the state, they are also meeting the needs of Louisiana’s workforce.

The UL System leads the state in the number of graduates in disciplines related to the nine key industrial sectors cited by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED).

Over the last 10 years UL System schools generated the following state share of bachelor’s degrees granted by Louisiana’s public universities:

77% Criminal Justice and Police Science
74% Family and Consumer Sciences and Human Sciences
74% Health and Fitness Studies
67% Public Administration and Social Work
65% Health Professions and Clinical Sciences
60% Education
57% Visual and Performing Arts
56% Computer and Information Sciences
51% Business, Management and Marketing
49% Natural Resources and Conservation
47% Engineering and Engineering Technology

These degree programs add direct value to the areas the LED determined to be critical for Louisiana’s current and future economic vitality. Additionally, UL System schools lead the state in master’s degree production in the following areas:

73% Family and Consumer Sciences and Human Sciences
60% Education
51% Biological and Biomedical Sciences
51% Criminal Justice
49% Computer and Information Sciences
44% Communication and Journalism

With approximately two-thirds of UL System graduates remaining in the state, graduates of the eight universities make up a large proportion of Louisiana’s professional workforce.

Dr. Ron Darbeau
Professor of Chemistry, McNeese State University

Even still, there remains a need in Louisiana for professionals in critical shortage areas. Governor Bobby Jindal has made strengthening Louisiana’s work force a top priority of his administration.

“One of the goals of our redesign of the workforce development system in Louisiana is to connect the dots between market demand for employees with particular skills and the education and training institutions that can turn out graduates with those skills,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Tim Barfield.

“Once we can draw a straight line between them, we will have overcome one of the largest obstacles to economic development in our state. The eight campuses of the University of Louisiana System are an important component of that solution,” said Barfield.

Degree attainment is especially important in a state where only 20 percent of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or higher as compared to 27 percent nationally per the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The Council for a Better Louisiana’s 2009 Fact Book also shows our state as the third highest in the nation in overall poverty at 16 percent. That is a problem that can be solved,in part, by education.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, higher learning equals higher earning. Associate degree graduates make an additional $4,294 in wages per year over high school graduates. That annual additional salary grows by $17,287 for a bachelor’s degree and $27,856 for a master’s degree.

Taking into account the incremental earnings per year as a result of degree attainment and in-state retention, University of Louisiana System graduates have added over $6.5 billion to Louisiana’s economy over the last 10 years.

The benefits of UL System graduates go beyond quantifiable measures. According to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, college graduates have improved health and longer life expectancies, participate more in their communities through service and charitable giving, have more hobbies and leisure activities, are more likely to participate in civic activities such as voting, make better consumer decisions, have a better appreciation of diversity, are less likely to participate in crime, and have an improved quality of life for themselves and their children.

U.S. Census Bureau data reinforces these claims in Louisiana. Ninety-one percent of bachelor’s degree holders reported good to very good health versus only 80 percent of those with high school diplomas. Additionally, 85 percent of bachelor’s degree holders voted in the 2000 Presidential election versus 64 percent of high school graduates.



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