The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, or Perkins V, serves as the primary federal investment in Career and Technical Education (CTE). The Louisiana Perkins V State Plan depends on having strong regional teams to ensure rigorous education and training opportunities that lead to high-wage, high-skill, in-demand occupations are available to all citizens. The purpose of the regional approach is to better target the needs of industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and to ensure that Perkins funds are focused on achieving the greatest outcomes. Leveraging the regional team model, which already existed under Perkins IV, the previous regional teams were consolidated into eight coalitions that match the Regional Labor Market Areas (RLMA) identified by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Each Perkins Regional Coalition (PRC), led by a Perkins Regional Coalition Coordinator (PRCC), consists of stakeholders vested in CTE: 

  1. secondary, post-secondary, adult, and corrections education, 
  2. business and industry, 
  3. workforce and economic development, 
  4. students and parents, and 
  5. foundation and community partners. 

These members help to assess and inform CTE programming in the region by utilizing local needs assessments and employment data to support planning and decisions. During February, we will highlight a few of the success stories from the field.


Region 5

Integrating Virtual Reality into Health Sciences Career and Technical Education Programs

SOWELA Technical Community College (SOWELA) embraces its mission to “empower learners in transfer, career, and technical education to excel as globally competitive citizens” by providing technical programs ranging from Information Systems Technology in its School of Business and Applied Technology to Machine Tool Technology in its School of Transportation and Applied Technology. Additionally, its Career Coach, an online career exploration tool, assists students with discovering “in-demand careers and education based on” the student’s interests. 

According to Louisiana’s most recent Labor Market Information for Regional Labor Market Area 5 (southwest Louisiana), surgical technician is among the growth occupations for that region (Long-Term Occupational Projections for All Occupations to 2026). With the COVID-19 health emergency, instructors at SOWELA, as at all educational institutions, began to reimage how to deliver instruction, especially in programs where hands-on learning is an integral component of the curriculum. Amy Broussard, SOWELA’s Surgical Technology Program Coordinator found a solution, a medical simulator program known as “Periopsim.” Through virtual reality “the system transforms a classroom into an operating room.”

Below are pictures of students using the Periopsim system and a link to a video highlighting that SOWELA was First in Louisiana to Integrate new VR surgeries in class.


Video highlighting using Virtual Reality in the Surgical Technology classes at SOWELA:

First in Louisiana to Integrate new VR surgeries in class


PRCC Lead: Region 5
Kay Vanchiere
[email protected]
(337) 421-6565


Region 6

A key goal of Perkins V (Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act) is increasing the concentration of students in nontraditional occupations based upon gender (3P1 - NTO Concentration).

Nontraditional occupations (NTO) are jobs in which 25% or less of the workforce is either male or female, and this particular gender is considered a minority in the occupational field. The gender divide in these occupations weakens the economy by reducing economic opportunity, productivity, and diversity.

Less than 25% of the students enrolled in the Louisiana Region Labor Market 6 welding programs are women. Therefore, Region 6 will continue to explore opportunities to increase the enrollment of nontraditional students and would like to highlight our Women in Welding.

Meet Gabriel Powell, an Industrial Manufacturing Instructor at the Natchitoches Campus of Central Louisiana Technical Community College. In 2012, while enrolled at the secondary education level, she decided to participate in dual enrollment welding classes. After successfully completing her first semester, she decided that the technical education career track was for her. While enrolled at the post-secondary level, Gabriel excelled quickly and was selected as a student worker to assist with mentoring and teaching other students. In 2014, Gabriel was hired for a dual enrollment welding instructional position while continuing her career advancement earning an Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies in 2019. Gabriel holds the following certifications: LEDC4M Instructor V1, V2, Nondestructive Testing, NCCER Master Trainer, MSSC Certified Production Tech. She is also authorized to and OSHA 10 & 30 classes.

Meet Lauren Koons, a Navy veteran enrolled in the Welding Program at the Lamar Salter Campus of Central Louisiana Technical Community College. Lauren is on track to graduate in May 2021 with a Technical Diploma in Welding.

Lauren's future goals including continuing her post-secondary education to pursue training in underwater welding.

I’ve always been fascinated about welding and enjoy doing things that require hands- on skills, and I also believed that I would be good at it.” - Lauren

Meet Halle Coco (Red helmet) and Shakira Evans (Pink Hoodie), welding program students at the Alexandria Campus of Central Louisiana Technical College.

Halle started welding because she watched your friends weld and thought it was looked cool. Her friends also had opportunities to travel because of their welding careers and earned a substantial income. After graduating she wants to pursue employment opportunities that allow her to purchase a camper and travel while taking care of her brother.

Shakira started her welding career path through the dual enrollment option while a student at Peabody High School. After graduating from high school, she decided to continue her welding training at CLTCC.

After graduating from CLTCC, Shakira plans to work in the welding field while pursuing additional career opportunities.

Meet Aaliyah Marcum (left) and Shyann Ross (right), dual enrollment welding students at the CLTCC Sabine Valley Campus.

As juniors enrolled at Florien High School, they began their welding program experience in the Fall semester of 2020 having completed 11 credit hours. They are both currently enrolled in 8 credits hours.

The decision for both Aaliyah and Shyann to pursue a career in welding was influenced by the future high wage employment outlook in the welding field.

I’m good at it, I enjoy it, and want to prove that a woman can do anything a man can do.” - Shyann


PRCC Lead:  Region 6
Geralyn A. Janice
[email protected]
(337) 537-3135 ext. 2201