As Louisiana State University of Alexandria seeks to meet Central Louisiana workforce demands, strong collaboration with local businesses is needed to ensure students are career-ready upon graduation.
LSUA’s longstanding relationship with Rapides Regional Medical Center (RRMC) exemplifies what community partnerships can achieve through collaboration.
Through the support of RRMC and former Rapides Healthcare System president and chief executive officer, A.C. Buchanan III, LSUA’s Allied Health programs have made downtown Alexandria a hub for student training and career success.
In 2008, the LSUA Department of Allied Health was granted use of the downtown facility at 807 Jackson Street by RRMC. Additionally, RRMC invested in extensive renovations to student laboratories and classrooms, specifically a fully-equipped medical laboratory science lab and an energized x-ray room. The facility was later renamed to honor the memory of Mr. Buchanan, also a former LSUA Foundation board member.
“With the generous support provided for laboratory and classroom space specific to our Allied Health degree offerings, we have been able to attract more students to our Allied Health programs and provide pre-clinical training for students prior to their actual clinical rotations at affiliated hospitals across LSUA’s primary service area,” said Dr. Haywood Joiner, Chair of the LSUA Department of Allied Health. “We have also begun the process of working to offer additional programs designed to meet the workforce needs of the region.”
Following in the late Buchanan’s footsteps, RRMC Chief Executive Officer and LSUA Foundation board member, Jason Cobb, has recently made a significant commitment to renovate the second floor of the A.C. Buchanan III Allied Health Building to house a new Surgical Technology program that will be developed in partnership with LSUE.
“This new program at LSUA will not only help fill a vital need in our surgery department, but it is also an investment in workforce development,” said Cobb. “We are proud of the surgical offerings we have been able to bring to Central Louisiana in recent years, such as the Brainlab neurosurgical suite, the daVinci Xi robotic system and our new hybrid operating room. This Surgical Technology program is yet another piece and the collaboration with LSUA and its Allied Health department is a natural fit and win for Central Louisiana.”
The Department of Engineering at RRMC is currently reviewing the project with hopes to begin construction next month. Current plans are for LSUA/LSUE to admit students to the program in Fall 2021.
“These local partnerships are critical to the success of our students, but also critical to the Central Louisiana workforce. Without the generosity of community business leaders like Mr. Buchanan and Jason Cobb with the Rapides Regional Medical Center, LSUA would not be the excellent university that it is today,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSUA Chancellor. “We are grateful for their outstanding and continuing support.”