Southern wants to strengthen ties to local businesses
Southern University has long had strong relationships with national corporations, says James Llorens, chancellor of the Baton Rouge main campus. That includes large corporations with a local presence, such as Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil. But he says ties haven't been as strong with local businesses. "I think that's an opportunity for us to grow," Llorens says. Many national companies make a point of having a diverse workforce, he explains, so historically black colleges and universities like Southern are an important part of their recruiting base. "A lot of our students are winding up outside of Louisiana, going to Texas, or to job opportunities in the Northeast or on the West Coast," he says. "Some of those students would love to remain here in Louisiana." Llorens says Southern is reaching out to local companies, encouraging them to participate in the school's advisory boards, to make sure the university is producing graduates with skills the local market needs. He also is looking for opportunities for Southern to collaborate on projects with companies. University faculty might perform research for a company on a contractual basis, for example. Business leaders interested in learning more should contact the Southern chancellor's office. —David Jacobs
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