Louisiana Department of Education and GNO, Inc. Execute SCA Open Enrollment Pilot


NEW ORLEANS – Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) recently partnered to offer a “Supplemental Course Academy (SCA) Open Enrollment Pilot” process which is now a permanent structure in the diversification of course offerings for youth.  The GNO, Inc. initiated “SCA Open Enrollment Pilot” fast tracked the lengthy Course Choice application process in order for alternative training providers offering workforce aligned training to apply, gain approval, and begin offering courses in an expedited manner.

Since July, through the SCA Open Enrollment Pilot, two regional digital media training providers, Operation Spark and New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC), have been approved as Course Choice providers. This new program allows districts the opportunity to utilize their SCA allocation and/or TOPS Tech Early Start funding to pay for their services. Although this initial pilot resulted in technology focused courses, additional training providers from an array of industry sectors are in the fast-tracked application/approval pipeline.

“The growth in the technology sector in Southeast Louisiana is unprecedented, and in order to sustain our growth, our ability to produce a trained workforce will be key,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc.  “The SCA Open Enrollment Pilot represents a strategic solution that supports systems level change, helping us to meet workforce needs in an efficient manner. The SCA Open Enrollment Pilot and newly approved Course Choice providers are essential to helping companies hire local talent and continue their growth in Louisiana. We look forward to continuing to work with LDOE, training providers, and our industry partners to develop innovative workforce solutions.”

“The shift to a year-round application cycle for Course Choice providers will greatly benefit students as they prepare for college and career after high school,” said State Superintendent of Education John White. “Innovative technical training providers such as Operation Spark and the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) have been able to take advantage of this new process to start serving students immediately rather than waiting an entire year, providing them with faster access to the skills needed to compete in Louisiana’s growing workforce. The Department thanks GNO, Inc., for continuing to be a pivotal partner in their support of Jump Start and innovations in career and technical education in New Orleans and across the state.”

“One million high-wage software related jobs are about to go unfilled in the next 5 years because we are not providing training to our youth,” said John Fraboni, Founder and CEO of Operation Spark. “In fact, less than 1 in 10 schools in the USA teach any form of computer science, and this is contributing vastly to missed opportunity. Part of our mission at Operation Spark is to ensure CS and software development workforce readiness are available to every student in Louisiana, and being a Course Choice Provider provided the network and resources to make this happen, as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Course Choice brings immense opportunity to include industry training within schools, without the overhead associated with developing and implementing curriculum.”

“New Orleans Video Access Center has been expanding its youth education program as part of its commitment to developing creative and economic pathways for all New Orleanians,” said Darcy McKinnon, Executive Director of New Orleans Video Access Center.  “The Course Choice provider program has allowed us to formalize our curriculum, school partnerships, as well as provide a real weight to the creative digital media training we provide. Both NOVAC and the schools with which we partner appreciate that program allows open-enrollment, under-resourced schools to offer the same high-quality technological education options as are available at private and selective school programs.  We also enjoy being able to work in a long-term workshop environments supporting both real student learning and work-ready skills certification, ensuring that Louisiana public school students are being trained in leading edge technology career pathways.”

SCA provides families and students the ability to select from hundreds of online and face-to-face courses not traditionally offered by high schools and middle schools. The program is a critical component of Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to allow every student a pathway to college and a professional career. SCA Course Choice courses offer students opportunities to pursue college coursework, Advanced Placement courses, and technical training that prepare them for opportunities after high school.

About Greater New Orleans, Inc.
GNO, Inc. is the regional economic development organization for Southeast Louisiana.  The GNO, Inc. Mission is to create jobs and wealth in the Greater New Orleans community.  The GNO, Inc. Vision is for the Greater New Orleans region to fulfill its potential as one of the best places in the country to grow a company, and raise a family.

More information can be found at www.gnoinc.org.

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