The grant from the EDA University Center program funds the second year of a five-year grant awarded to McNeese in 2013. McNeese was one of 19 universities awarded the grant in a national competition to advance and strengthen regional economies.
"EDA's investment is an opportunity to grow the innovation infrastructure in Southwest Louisiana through training, technical assistance, applied research and workforce education," said Janet Woolman, executive director of economic development and the Louisiana Environmental Research Center at McNeese.
Woolman said the goal of the McNeese EDA University Center is to create an innovation economy. "McNeese works with business and industry to identify and facilitate opportunities to leverage the resources and expertise within the university. Recently, the EDA center at McNeese developed a software program that identifies faculty expertise and intellectual capital as a resource for business and industry."
Located in the McNeese Southwest Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center, Woolman said the EDA University Center at McNeese is building an innovation network to leverage public/private partnerships that connect students and faculty with entrepreneurs and businesses and industry.
"The center collaborates with McNeese's Institute for Industry Education Collaboration and the Innovation Center to address workforce needs of the region. McNeese not only provides an educated workforce, but also offers professional and customized workforce training programs, conducts applied research to solve local problems and generates and sustains regional economic growth and prosperity," she added.