McNeese connects students to businesses in Southwest Louisiana - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

McNeese connects students to businesses in Southwest Louisiana

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
McNeese State University is proving its connecting students to big business in Southwest Louisiana thanks to a grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant funds the second year of a five-year grant awarded to McNesse in 2013.

University faculty said the grant will help solve local workforce issues through innovation.

“The question people ask all the time is what is innovation,” said Janet Woolman, executive director of economic development and the Louisiana Environmental Research Center at McNeese. “The very simple answer is that it solves a problem that has value to a customer.”

The university has already been pushing its students to solve these issues with the Innovation center in the SEED Center recently opening. The center offers students the opportunity to turn an idea into reality.

“You do that through a process of creating, communicating, and commercializing meaningful and unique ideas,” said Woolman.

The newest grant will help expand on what the university is already accomplishing.

“You can see where we will be able to get new emerging technology and be able to help the community with the skills and knowledge that we have,” said McNeese student, Hannah Fogg.

McNeese was one of 19 universities awarded the grant in a national competition with the purpose of advancing and strengthening regional economies.

“We took students through the steps necessary to explore new services that will draw businesses, families, and professionals to Southwest Louisiana.

Faculty members said the grant will also continue expanding the relationships between lake area employers and students.

“We got to work with a local company and help them solve one of the problems that they have and it was unique to bring the students, company, and faculty together to see what we could come up with,” said Fogg.

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