The Providence House and Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) have formed a new partnership to expand its Workforce Development/Job Skills Training Program.
The expanded program, a collaboration between the two organizations that began nearly two years ago, will provide tuition fees for industry-based certifications for both Providence House clients as well as community individuals.
The BPCC instructional site at The Providence House will provide classes at Providence House’s Education Center. The Providence House’s 4-star Childcare Center will provide childcare for participants.
The Providence House Executive Director Verni Howard says the organization is excited to be collaborating with Bossier Parish Community College to expand this unique program.
“This expanded workforce development partnership levels the playing field not just for homelessness families, but for the unemployed or underemployed,” she said. “Education and workforce development/job skills training are the only tools that will permanently break the bonds of homelessness and poverty, and this program, which will be open to the community, will lift our entire community and change the economic landscape.”
BPCC Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development Dr. Gayle Flowers says the College looks forward to continuing its mission of providing workforce development and job skills training for workers in specific high-demand industry jobs.
“We change the landscape of our community when we empower through employment by teaching the talent and skills needed to secure living-wage jobs, and we grow the economy when northwest Louisiana employers have work-ready individuals available to fill their open positions. What lifts up one individual, lifts and unites us all,” said Dr. Flowers.
In January 2018, after considering the state of the educational outcomes in the Shreveport-Bossier metropolitan area and the need for skilled workers in specific high-demand industry jobs, The Providence House and BPCC embarked on a training and job skills effort investing in a community segment with the greatest needs – homeless, poor, and unskilled adults.
After identifying specific market-driven opportunities, the first cohort of students began coursework in April of 2018. To date, 28 adults entered the program and 21 completed the required courses. Of those who completed coursework, all received certifications and 14 are working with local employers earning $14 or more per hour.
BPCC and Providence House leaders believe these results demonstrate that The Providence House-BPCC partnership investment moves individuals in the local community out of poverty, and that by braiding funds available from local investors, an expanded program will have even deeper impact.