New Louisiana Tech program to focus on rural business, community development
A new graduate certificate program to be offered at Louisiana Tech University will help to prepare students to meet the complex business and economic development needs of Louisiana’s rural communities. The Louisiana Board of Regents has approved Louisiana Tech to offer the post-baccalaureate Rural Development Certification Program, which will train students in areas such as economic development theory, grants and grant writing, international trade, conducting business over the Internet, and relating geographic information systems to economic development. The program will begin in the summer quarter. “Through enhancing the knowledge and capabilities of rural community members and leaders, this program hopes to contribute to a growing environment of economic development in north Louisiana,” said Dr. Aaron Lusby, assistant professor of agricultural business and director of Louisiana Tech’s Rural Business Development Center. “Program completers will have an understanding of economic forces in rural areas and a set of tools for helping their communities adapt to changes and hopefully seek out opportunities presented by those changes.” The 12 credit-hour certificate provides students with the skills needed to address issues facing rural communities and businesses, such as sustainable development, marketing of local businesses on a global scale, new tools such as GIS for rural development, and other issues that are considered key to the survival of rural communities. Louisiana Tech, through its Rural Development Center, will offer this certification not only to post-baccalaureate students, but to anyone who meets the admissions standards and who wishes to enhance their ability to grow in their rural community. This could include extension agents, community and parish/county public officials, and local business leaders and entrepreneurs. “The fact that the University supported the development of this program, with funding from USDA, shows that Tech recognizes its place as an anchor of the north Louisiana economy and its capabilities for creating educational opportunities that provide tools and skills that can benefit rural economies,” said Lusby. Although the program is open to all applicants, it is tailored to professionals who have rural development duties or who would like to enhance their resumes to include skills in the available subject areas. All courses are offered online. Additional program details are available at http://www.latech.edu/rural_development/certification.shtml. Applications must be submitted to the Louisiana Tech University Graduate College by May 2 at http://www.latech.edu/graduate_school/admissions/index.shtml. Grant funding for this certificate program has been provided to Louisiana Tech through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Higher Education Challenge program.