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La. Hopes to Lure College Graduates Back Home


A new initiative will target graduates with degrees in computer science and engineering.A new initiative will target graduates with degrees in computer science and engineering.

BATON ROUGE La.—The Board of Regents, the state’s top higher education panel, is hoping to entice thousands of Louisiana college graduates who left the state to return home and fill what is expected to be a wave of new high-technology jobs.

The initiative, called Operation Recall, will target more than 40,000 people, many of whom have degrees in computer science and engineering.

The effort is part of an overall push by the regents and a number of other state agencies who are predicting the state’s job market to grow significantly faster than the national job market over the next year and several years into the future.

The consensus is that the cheap price of natural gas will spark continued plant construction and expansion in the manufacturing industry, likely resulting in jobs ranging from $12-an-hour construction positions to six-figure engineering careers over the next several years.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission estimates the Baton Rouge and New Orleans metro areas will grow by 20,000 and 17,000 jobs in the next three years.

The Advocate reports Operation Recall will be a partnership with information-gathering USADATA company to identify graduates who could be persuaded to return to Louisiana. The company will use public information including driver’s license files, telephone directories and tax records to find graduates who have married, changed their names and who have moved several times since they graduated.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell said the project will entail tracking graduates and analyzing their spending habits, what they like to do for recreation and identifying whether they live in urban or rural communities.

He said that type of data will give the state an idea where each graduate is in their career.

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