BATON ROUGE, LA - Yesterday, the Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Bill 148, also known as the MJ Foster Promise Program. Senate Bill 148, which was authored by Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, was previously approved by the Senate. The bill now awaits signature by Governor John Bel Edwards.
Named after former Louisiana Governor Mike J. Foster, the founding father of the state’s community college system, the MJ Foster Promise program is a new $10.5 million annual state fund aimed at providing workforce training opportunities for Louisiana’s adults. The Program will provide financial support for adults to earn credentials that align to high-demand jobs in growing industry sectors, such as construction, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics. Eligible credentials will be earned through short-term workforce training as well as more traditional academic degree programs no longer than 60 credit hours (an associate degree).
“The approval of Senate Bill 148 is about educating and skilling more of our people to allow them to go to work and make a living. It’s about investing in our adults, and it’s about developing the best Louisiana we can be,” said LCTCS President Monty Sullivan. “There are adults in our state who want a better life and who want to learn new skills to go to work. As a state, we have set educational attainment goals through Louisiana Prospers that 60 percent of working-age adults will hold a high-value credential by 2030. The MJ Foster Promise is a means by which the state will reach this goal. Participating in today’s economy requires education and skills beyond high school. The MJ Foster Promise Program sends a clear message to adults: wherever you are on life’s path, education and workforce training beyond high school is absolutely necessary for your personal success and to the future success of Louisiana.”
The Program will be available to all Louisiana residents (21 years or older) with individual student awards available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To promote maximum accessibility, there will not be a merit-based barrier for the Program (such as a GPA requirement or an ACT score). Eligible participants must meet a family income threshold of 300% of the Federal Poverty Level or be unemployed or underemployed for six months.
Students will qualify for financial support for academic programs up to 60 credit hours or for several stackable short-term workforce credentials. In both cases, the award would only be available to the student for a period of three years.
A comprehensive statewide multi-channel and multi-year communications, marketing, and outreach campaign will be launched to help boost enrollment and ensure Louisiana adults are aware of the MJ Foster Promise Program. Marketing materials are expected to hit screens, devices, and airwaves later this fall.
The MJ Foster Promise Program will be administered by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) at the Board of Regents and begin in July 2022.