LOSFA career awareness initiative sets high school students on path for success

Brittany Francis
Public Information and Communications Director 
(225) 219-3306 Office

Tyana Daquano
Public Information Officer
(225) 342-5173 Office

Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) 

January 4, 2019

LOSFA career awareness initiative sets high school students on path for success

Baton Rouge – Schools around the state are networking more with business and industry to introduce students to a variety of careers. The Campus/Industry Field Trip Initiative from the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) is to promote career awareness, as students prepare for success beyond the classroom.

The program is one component of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). Louisiana’s GEAR UP program is part of LOSFA’s outreach effort, which strives to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. Part of that, is making sure students are aware of which fields and careers are available both in the state of Louisiana and nationwide. 

Staff at Florien High, one of the GEAR UP schools, say these partnerships are allowing students a more realistic look at the future.

“We’ve had quite a few colleges visit, but sometimes students aren’t aware of what their interests are,” said Jodi Cole, the on-site school coordinator at Florien High School. “This gives them a way to see all the options.”

Cole recently invited representatives from Northwestern State University to speak to all students at Florien High, grades 9-12, about their engineering program. In particular, the Associate Degree in Engineering Technology was highlighted. 

The degree allows students to work three days a week at a manufacturing plant NSU partners while also attending class the other two days. Students are paid for their work while gaining valuable hands on experience that they will be able to utilize after graduation. 

Employees from Alliance Compressors, a manufacturing plant in Natchitoches, Louisiana, also spoke to students about job opportunities available with an engineering degree. 

“These are opportunities that are just an hour from our town,” said Cole, adding the importance for students to see that they do not have to travel far for success.

During these campus/industry visits, students experience an actual or simulated work environment, see the realistic application of what they learn in the classroom, and see first-hand if their skills and interest match with certain careers.

Thomas Rudd, LOSFA’s Career Transition Specialist, works closely with the schools, universities and business partners. He says so far, partnerships have been established in:

  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Chemical Production
  • Construction (Industrial)
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Petrochemical Services

Cole says once students return after the winter break, she plans to invite a Florien High graduate back to speak with students about the medical field and the many career options available.

For more information on LOSFA’s Campus/Industry Field Trip Initiative, contact Thomas Rudd at or (225) 219-7557.