NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans today announced the ongoing initiatives spearheaded by the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) for skills and job training.
“The investments made by my administration continue to make New Orleans a more thriving, attractive and equitable place to work, live and raise a family,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “I applaud the efforts of Workforce Development to train and prepare our residents for skilled, high-paying jobs, focusing especially on our most vulnerable populations. As our economy continues to expand and diversify, it is important that we to continue to set our people up for success by meeting them where they are, exposing them to the several high-demand employment opportunities within City government and ensuring they can support themselves and their families for generations to come.”
“The City of New Orleans is committed to using workforce development as a strategy to many of the challenges we face around housing, public safety and public health,” said OWD Director Sunae Villavaso. “The Office of Workforce Development has been and will continue to be intentional about finding and utilizing as many resources as possible to provide quality training and careers for youth, young adults, adults and senior residents of Orleans Parish.”
Earn and Learn Program
OWD is currently using $500,000 in Wisner Funds to fund their inaugural Earn and Learn program, which provides stipends to participants who enroll in training programs in priority industries. Participants receive a weekly stipend while training for up to 12 weeks. The goal of this form of apprenticeship is to provide stipends while participants upskill and or retrain to more resilient and sustainable careers. The program is anticipated to start in the next few weeks.
JOB1, the programmatic side of OWD, has been working with several partners, such as Covenant House, Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), local schools and business and more to assist transitional youth in skills and job training. This includes youth transitioning out of foster care, group homes and intensive home and community supervision. Priority industries include advanced manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and logistics, building trades, green infrastructure and information and technology. All the partners involved utilize a shared database to ensure that no youth gets lost in the system.
Auto Mechanic Training
OWD is partnering with the City’s Equipment Maintenance Division (EMD) to train more auto mechanics that would then be able to fill the vacancies at EMD facilities. EMD will hire constituents as general laborers, and they will receive on-the-job training to become automotive technicians. As the entity responsible for the upkeep of the City fleet, including emergency vehicles, it is critical for the City and all residents that EMD is staffed.
Last year, OWD submitted a proposal for up to $100,000 in funding from the state through LWC to train more individuals as linemen. This proposal was approved for the amount of $95,000. Each person’s tuition is $9,500, so this program anticipates training 100 new linemen. These new additions to our workforce are vital to our resilience and recovery in the face of severe weather.
Two other proposals were submitted to the state, but neither have been accepted for funding at this time. These were funding for supportive services and programmatic equipment and funding to train women in homeless shelters.
For more information about OWD’s programs, please visit OWD’s website.