Step Forward, City of Shreveport, LSUS and International Youth Foundation Work Together to Build a “Smart City”

As a direct result from the Smart City: Workforce Analysis workshop held in 2019, Step Forward, the City of Shreveport, LSUS and the International Youth Foundation are investing in the future of Northwest Louisiana. The groups have secured 200 Elecrow Raspberry Pi Advanced 3B+ Educational Kits (CrowPi Kits) to teach coding with new technologies at SPAR Recreational Centers and LSUS. The CrowPi is an educational tool based on Raspberry Pi, designed to help people learn electronics, programming and basic computer science.

Katie Raymond, International Youth Foundation Program Director says “The International Youth Foundation is excited to partner with Step Forward, LSUS and the City of Shreveport to advance common goals. Our analysis of the competencies needed for the tech sector’s workforce pipeline, lead us to invest in 200 Raspberry Pi Advanced Educational Kits. This product provides practical, hands-on learning in the fastest growing coding language nationally, Python, as well as Scratch and will allow users to learn AI, IOT and how to build electronic products. Training and skill development with Raspberry Pi is an exciting opportunity for local workforce development programs, K-12 education, as well as students enrolled in LSUS’s many programs. We are excited to see the collaboration and innovations unfold in Shreveport – between young people with new ideas learning to code, to LSUS leadership and engagement, and the Smart City initiative connecting all the dots between technology, government services, and economic development – the potential is inspiring. These are also all steps in the right direction for businesses to continue to hire locally, to increase diversity in the tech field, and to create more inclusive growth across neighborhoods.”

“This partnership offers many opportunities for LSUS students, along with those attending our K-12 summer camps, to learn how to utilize technological skills that will prepare them for the 21st Century Digital Economy,” said Dr. Julie Lessiter, Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives at LSUS. “LSUS is committed to exposing students to the latest emergent technology, and initiatives like this go hand in hand with the opening of our 10,000 square foot CyberCollaboratory this summer, where we can help produce the next great generation of tech-savvy employees for the region and beyond. In addition to classroom instruction, our faculty works tirelessly to find opportunities to collaborate with groups such as IYF, Step Forward and The City of Shreveport.”

Step Forward co-hosted Shreveport’s first Smart City: Workforce Analysis workshop with the City of Shreveport, The International Youth Foundation and partners including NLEP, the Greater Shreveport Chamber, Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce, and the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. During the workshop, area employers, and HR professionals gathered at the Shreveport Convention Center to discuss in-demand certifications and skills needed for entry level employees in the IT sector.

If you would like more information, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator Kirk Reedstrom at 318-404-1751 or kirk@stepforwardnla.org