Monday, April 24, 2006



David Jacobs
Staff Writer

There is no “silver bullet or magic solution” to the state’s woes, U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal said Thursday night, but education comes close.

Jindal, R-Metairie, was the keynote speaker at the third annual Lafourche Education Foundation Gala at Nicholls State University.

The congressman stressed the importance of better workforce development in the school system, noting that three out of four employers said in a survey that they had trouble finding employees with the right skills, including 80 percent of manufacturers.

Jindal said the quality of an area’s workforce is the No. 1 criterion when companies are deciding where to locate, and difficulty finding the right employees is a major constraint on growth.

Part of the problem in Louisiana, Jindal said, is that too much emphasis is placed on students going to four-year colleges, while trade schools and technical colleges are underfunded and underutilized. As a result, Louisiana has the second highest college dropout rate while technical and mechanical skills are lacking.

The keys to public education, Jindal said, are better teacher pay, a better classroom environment and making sure enough money gets to the classroom.

“The best thing we can do is put good teachers in the classroom,” Jindal said.

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