Louisiana's health department has received approval to hire private companies to run state facilities in Hammond and Bossier City that care for the developmentally disabled.
The Civil Service Commission agreed to the plans Wednesday without objection.
Under the plans already backed by lawmakers, the state is turning over the operations of Northlake Supports and Services Center and Northwest Supports and Services Center to private contractors.
Greg Andrus, deputy assistant secretary for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, told the commission the privatization is estimated to save nearly $7 million this budget year.
Andrus says the move will eliminate 980 state government jobs, about 869 of which are currently filled. He says the private operators will give laid-off employees preference for hiring if they want to stay.