Title 17. Education

Chapter 24. Board of Regents

Part I. General Provisions

 

17:3138.4      Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund

 

A. The “Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund”, hereinafter referred to in this Section as the “fund”, is hereby created within the state treasury as a special fund for the purpose of funding degree and certificate production and research priorities in high demand fields through programs offered by Louisiana’s public postsecondary education institutions to meet the state’s future workforce and innovation needs.

 

B. Monies in the fund shall be invested in the same manner as monies in the general fund. Interest earned on investment of monies in the fund shall be credited to the fund. Unexpended and unencumbered monies in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall remain in the fund.

 

C. Subject to an annual appropriation by the legislature, each fiscal year the sum of forty million dollars shall be deposited into the fund. Monies in the fund shall be appropriated and administered as provided in this Section.

 

D. (1) Monies in the fund shall be appropriated to the Board of Regents to be distributed to and used by postsecondary education institutions in accordance with a statewide workforce demand and gap analysis to be developed as provided for in this Section.

 

(2) The funds distributed pursuant to this Section shall be used by the institution towards degree and certificate production pursuant to the workforce demand and gap analysis and research priorities according to implementation plans.

 

(3) Any funds distributed to any institution that remain unexpended or unobligated at the end of the fiscal year shall be available for use in the subsequent fiscal year by an institution pursuant to their implementation plan.

 

(4)(a) Funding shall be distributed by the Board of Regents only upon receipt of certification by the postsecondary education management board on behalf of the receiving public postsecondary education institution that a match of no less than twenty percent of the amount of funding to be distributed has been guaranteed by a private entity. Match certification shall be reported to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget within thirty days of the receipt. The certification shall detail the type of private match to be provided, which may include: cash; in-kind donations of technology, personnel, construction materials, facility modification, or tangible property; internships; scholarships; sponsorship of staff or faculty; or faculty endowment. The Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund Strategic Planning (WISE) Council may authorize a match for an institution in types other than those provided for in this Paragraph, upon request of the system president.

 

(b) In any fiscal year that the total appropriated funds from the sum of the state general fund and dedicated funds for higher education are below the appropriated funding in the prior fiscal year, the WISE Council may at its discretion, delay or waive requirements as set forth in Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph.

 

E. (1) A Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund Strategic Planning Council, to be referred to as the “WISE Council”, shall be established as an independent subcommittee of the Board of Regents and shall be comprised of the president-chancellor of Louisiana State University, the president of the Southern University System, the president of the University of Louisiana System, the president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the commissioner of higher education, the secretary of the Department of Economic Development, the executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the chairman of the Workforce Investment Council, or their successors.

 

(2)(a) The WISE Council shall develop a method for the distribution of monies in the fund in alignment with the statewide workforce demand and gap analysis and research priorities as provided in this Section. The methodology for the distribution shall be reevaluated no more than once every three years unless a majority of the WISE Council vote to reevaluate the methodology more often.

 

(b) The methodology of distribution shall be as follows:

 

(i) Eighty percent of funds distributed shall be based on degree and certificate production in fields required for four- or five-star jobs, as defined by the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Louisiana Star Jobs program or its successors and weighted by cost and a prioritization of high demand degree and certificate production based on data provided by the Department of Economic Development and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

 

(ii) Twenty percent of funds distributed shall be based on federally funded research expenditures as defined by the National Science Foundation.

 

(iii) The WISE Council shall have the authority to adjust the percentage of the distributions by no more than ten percent relative to the distribution of funds between degree certification production in Item (i) of this Subparagraph and federally funded research expenditures in Item (ii) of this Subparagraph. However, in no event shall the distribution based on federally funded research expenditures be reduced below twenty percent.

 

(3) The WISE Council shall prepare a statewide workforce demand and gap analysis which shall include:

 

(a) Statewide and regional degree and certificate production and research priorities based on an analysis of credential completion at all Louisiana postsecondary education institutions and workforce demand.

 

(b) A prioritization of high-demand degree and certificate production based on data provided by the Department of Economic Development and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

 

(4) The WISE Council and the Board of Regents shall review and approve the statewide workforce demand and gap analysis and research priorities.

 

(5) The WISE Council shall review and approve implementation plans submitted by institutions. The implementation plans shall include at a minimum a plan for expenditure of monies and outcomes expected.

 

(6) The system presidents shall report annually to the WISE Council on progress towards degree and certificate and research priorities in accordance with the implementation plans.

 

F. The statewide workforce demand and gap analysis, including any revisions to the analysis, distribution of funds, and implementation plans shall be posted on the Board of Regents’ website.

 

G. The WISE Council may create policies and procedures for its own management but shall meet no less than two times per year.

 

H. The Board of Regents, on behalf of postsecondary education, shall provide annual reporting to the Senate Committee on Education, Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Education, and the House Committee on Appropriations. Such reports shall include the statewide workforce demand and gap analysis, including any revisions to the analysis, distribution of funds, and implementation plans.

 

I. The Board of Regents shall promulgate rules developed jointly and collaboratively by the commissioner of higher education and the system presidents for the administration of the fund. Prior to final adoption, the rules shall be approved by the WISE Council.

 

J. The fund is in addition to, and separate from, any monies appropriated or allocated to any postsecondary education management board. Allocations from this fund shall not be included in the Board of Regents’ funding formula calculation, nor shall it supplant any state general fund allocations provided to institutions. The availability of the fund shall not in any way substitute, limit, or otherwise affect the allocation of any funds otherwise available to those institutions under state or federal laws.

 

K. All actions of the WISE Council and the implementation of this Section shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Regents.

 

Added by Acts 2014, No. 803, § 1, eff. June 19, 2014.