Lafayette chamber to make education a priority

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News,Business

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce has created a substantial list of goals for 2014 aimed at improving the community and sustaining a thriving atmosphere for businesses.

Public education is near the top.

Chamber Chief Executive Officer Jason El Koubi tells The Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1ezrEI9) the chamber, its policy divisions and membership will soon turn a focus toward generating support for the Lafayette Parish School System's "100 Percent In, 100 Percent Out" plan, researching ways the school system and Lafayette Parish School Board can better move forward.

"I focused my first few months on getting out and listening and learning from the business community, and one of the big priorities and concerns I heard over and over was education," El Koubi said.

Business leaders are keeping a close eye on the school system because of its effects on their current and future employees, he said.

"It's a quality-of-life issue for the workforce. It helps in recruitment and retention. If you're a parent, the school system is something that you're going to be taking a hard look at," El Koubi said. "The business owners also know that the output of the public school system is going to be a big part of their future workforce. The quality and quantity of graduates is going to be an important driver of economic growth."

El Koubi said a quality public education system underlies the other items on the chamber's 2014 priority list.

That list includes regional leadership, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, a comprehensive plan for Lafayette's growth, leadership development and membership.

"Without quality education, none of that happens," he said.

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Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com

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