BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Higher education leaders are defending Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan for a new $40 million incentive fund to steer money to high-demand degree and job training programs.
The dollars are included in Jindal's 2014-15 budget recommendations. But lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee are questioning whether the state can afford the creation of a new program while state finances remain tight.
The Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, called the WISE Fund, would direct dollars to science, technology and research programs at four-year universities and community and technical colleges.
Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, told the House committee the incentive fund helps Louisiana "start making a dent" in filling tens of thousands of petrochemical, engineering and manufacturing jobs.