Across the state of Louisiana, workers and job-seekers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new resource to access job training and career opportunities, thanks to a partnership announced today between a group of state education and workforce leaders and the national nonprofit SkillUp Coalition. The ambitious initiative convenes education providers, employers, and community-based organizations, major workforce nonprofits and philanthropies to bring sophisticated labor market analytics and personalized coaching to bear on creating new pathways to opportunity for workers throughout the region.
“Hundreds of thousands of workers across Louisiana have been impacted by the pandemic — and it will take the combined efforts of educators, business leaders, and policymakers to ensure an equitable recovery,” said Monty Sullivan, President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS). “This is about enhancing the state’s existing education and workforce infrastructure with both sophisticated technology and career guidance to help more people get back to work faster.”
According to a recent McKinsey report, up to one-third of U.S. jobs may be vulnerable as a result of COVID-19, and more than 80% of those are held by low-income workers. Research suggests that Louisiana’s economy, in particular, has been profoundly impacted by the pandemic, leading to what may be the state’s worst economic downturn in nearly 40 years — and creating increased need for job training and career support as Louisiana charts a path to economic recovery.
Designed to address the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable communities in the American workforce, the SkillUp Coalition works with local organizations around the country to support the millions of Americans whose livelihoods are still being affected by the pandemic. In Louisiana, SkillUp is partnering with the LCTCS, Greater New Orleans Inc, the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, and One Acadiana to provide community-based support for workers and job-seekers, building on LCTCS’ “Reboot Your Career” initiative and One Acadiana’s 55 by 25 program, among other state and local efforts.
“This would not be possible without the passion and commitment of education and workforce leaders across the state,” said Steven Lee, Executive Director of the SkillUp Coalition. “By supporting the pioneering work of both statewide and community-based organizations, we achieve our shared goal of putting more Louisiana residents on a path to economic opportunity.”
The SkillUp app helps frontline workers select and prepare for career paths that align with the economy of the future by targeting sectors that are expected to grow significantly in the coming years such as health care, technology, skilled trades, and logistics. SkillUp uses a four-part approach:
- Career navigation: Technology-enabled tools and coaches to guide displaced workers in choosing a career path aligned with rapidly changing labor market needs.
- Training programs: Access to education and training programs that match displaced workers’ career goals and provide financial support to cover tuition costs.
- Job opportunities: Matched to workers’ career aspirations and regional and local labor market demand.
- Coaching and Support: Helping workers navigate the financial and emotional challenges that often prevent them from completing their training and finding work.
Workers and job-seekers across Louisiana can learn more about SkillUp and access career navigation resources at skillup.org/louisiana. If you’re a training provider, employer, technology & service provider, or nonprofit interested in joining the Coalition, please visit skillup.org/partners/.
Following are quotes from our regional economic development partners in Louisiana:
Michael Hecht, President & CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.: “GNO, Inc. recognizes that the economic growth of our region and its businesses depends upon the strength of our regional workforce. COVID-19 has accelerated economic trends that play to our region’s natural strengths. If we are smart and make the right investments today, we can exit from this crisis with a more diverse and prosperous economy for tomorrow, including a more resilient workforce. We are excited to partner with the SkillUp Coalition to promote in-demand careers and training opportunities that align with available jobs in the region. We look forward to engaging with regional stakeholders on this initiative to ensure individuals understand the services and educational opportunities available to transition into a new career.”
Angie White , Interim President, North Louisiana Economic Partnership: “We believe the most sustainable path to economic growth in North Louisiana is by ensuring our employers can find workers with the skills they need to operate their companies at optimal capacity. By guiding residents toward skills that are in demand, we not only help our employers grow but also help our residents become more resilient and competitive in their careers, thereby ensuring a healthier economic future for them and their families.”
Troy Wayman, President & CEO of One Acadiana: “One Acadiana’s 55 by 25 initiative has helped drive a conversation about the need for further education and training in our region. That need is even greater now with the impacts of COVID-19. SkillUp Louisiana will help address this need by promoting in-demand occupations and training aligned with available jobs. We are proud to be a part of this initiative and will be engaging with regional partners to support this work as SkillUp Louisiana gets off the ground.”