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Louisiana Students Earn GIS Industry-Based Certification and Secure Internships and Employment

Global Geospatial Institute

The Global Geospatial Institute (GGI) team offers spatial education though state-of-the-art technology. We strive to put GIS technology in the hands of as many students as we can.

Global Geospatial Institute

Fran Harvey, GISP and instructor of GIS Course and GIS Technician Certification, Aalaina Banks, Joseph Harden, and Vibriyogn Epuri, TA for GIS Entry Level Course.

Global Geospatial Institute

GIS teaches students to visualize information and data in a geographic context.

Global Geospatial Institute

The GIS Entry Level course, available to 5,000 Louisiana high school students through a six year grant offered by Louisiana’s GEAR UP program.

Global Geospatial Institute encourages students K-12 to learn about GIS technology through courses and workshops and a free annual online GIS competition.

GIS is a growing economic force in the world. We're excited to offer this program for the students who will be the workforce and industry leaders of the future.”
— Fran Harvey, Founder and Director of GGI
BATON ROUGE, LA, USA, June 17, 2021 / -- As the ever-expanding field of technology touches every area of our world, Louisiana students seized the opportunity to learn new technological applications and, subsequently, earn their GIS Industry-Based Certification (IBC). Additionally, by submitting their StoryMap entries to the Esri national competition, these students were able to secure employment or a job-shadowing position. They were also invited to present at the 2021 Virtual ESRI User Conference.

Geographic Information System (GIS) is a quickly expanding technological field with endless applications in almost any industry. The local, Baton Rouge-based non-profit, Global Geospatial Institute (GGI), understands the importance of engaging Louisiana's students in GIS technology. Therefore, GGI provides high school students with the opportunity to participate in GGI's GIS Course through Southeastern Science & Technology Interactive Learning Experiences (SELU) and LSU STEM Pathways course, a catalog of choices. "The geospatial job and industry market is growing at 35 percent per year, and the commercial sector of the GIS industry grew by 100 percent last year. From the petroleum and shipping industries to consumer-fed apps on Smart Phones, GIS is a growing economic force in the world. We're excited to offer this program for the students who will be the workforce and industry leaders of the future," said Fran Harvey, Founder, and Director of GGI.


STILE and LSU partnered with Louisiana GEAR UP (Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) to provide the opportunity for high school students to earn early college credits or an industry-based certificate. A federally funded national initiative, Louisiana GEAR UP is supported by the U.S. Department of Education. During the Fall and Spring Semesters (October 2020 to May of 2021), Louisiana GEAR UP students worked diligently to develop their GIS skills by utilizing the ESRI™ software GIS technology, take the course, and earn a spot to take the GIS Industry-Based Certification (IBC) exam. The GIS Certification Course aims to give students sufficient background knowledge on mapping and geographic information and provides them with the knowledge they need to pass the certification exam.

Two students completed the course and certification exam on Saturday, May 15, 2021, to earn their GIS Technician Certification: Aalaina Banks, a 10th grader at St John STEM Magnet Program, and Joseph Harden, a 10th grader at Lee (Liberty) Magnet High. After passing their certification exam and becoming Certified GIS Technicians, Aalaina and Joseph received job shadowing or internships over the summer. Aalaina Banks will be interning at St. John the Baptist Tax Assessor's Office this summer, and Joseph will be job shadowing at Owen and White Engineering Company this summer.

The GIS Entry Level course, available to 5,000 Louisiana high school students through a six year grant offered by Louisiana’s GEAR UP program. In partnership with 16 school districts, Louisiana GEAR UP aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. Several high school students have gone directly into employment with GGI's industry partners, including the City of Hammond Planning Department and St. John the Baptist Planning and Zoning Department. These outstanding students can now bring awareness of this course and technology, an opportunity to others, and become Junior Geo Mentors to their peers in their school and community.


GGI is pleased to announce that this year's virtual 2021 Esri User Conference (UC) in July will feature a presentation by core members of the national team on the Where's the Food project. Formally titled, Youth Community Mapping COVID-19 Disruptions to Food Access, 'Where's the Food?' five members from three states of the national team collaborated and collated a video recording of their presentation to be aired during this year's conference, July 12th- 15th. What differentiates us from any other 4-H Club is what we do: meld GIS technology with traditional 4-H youth governance and healthy nutrition programs.

The StoryMap from high school student Katherine Winchester (St. Joseph's Academy), titled, “Monuments in Louisiana”, received the judges' highest scores. As a result, her Story Map will now advance to ESRI™'s national competition level. Winchester who won the high school category and earned her GIS IBC said, “Nice to be ahead of the curve, technology has ruled this past year”. This incredible annual Arc GIS Online opportunity is being made possible by the Louisiana State Management Team, a partnership between LSU Ag Center, 4-H Youth Development, a Baton Rouge-based non-profit, Global Geospatial Institute, and the leading international GIS technology company, ESRI™.

GGI challenges all Louisiana educators to participate in its ArcGIS Online School Competition. The annual competition is free and any middle or high school in Louisiana can participate. “Let’s see what we can do together to help more student use GIS to build a better understanding of our world,” Harvey said.

Students and educators wishing to learn more about GIS and how it can be applied in your school should contact Abby Miller at, or call the Institute at 225-939-1091. Interested educators can participate Online Teacher PD, For information about GGI’s GIS Entry Level Course and GIS Industry Based Certification visit

Media Contacts:
Fran Harvey 225-939-3907
Abbey Miller 225-939-1091

Fran Harvey
Global Geospatial Institute
+1 225-939-1091
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