Lacombe, LA.—Northshore Technical Community College has been awarded a 1.9 million-dollar Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grant by the US Department of Labor (DOL). Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) cosponsored the grant application through its GNOu workforce development program. Delgado Community College and Nunez Community College were co-applicants on the grant application as well. The DOL grant will primarily support scaling and replicating innovative apprenticeship models for emerging workforce needs through GNOu Opportunity+ (GNOuO+).
“With innovative medicine and manufacturing career programs, the State of Louisiana is maximizing opportunity for our residents through these important U.S. Department of Labor grants,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Northshore Technical Community College will lead a 10-parish initiative to train new workers as apprenticeships in high-demand fields. We’re excited that Delgado Community College and Nunez Community College will be working alongside Northshore as we identify important career connections for our students.”
“This significant investment by the US Department of Labor represents progressive and future focused market responsive collaborations that bring to scale innovations that will sustain and grow opportunities resulting in pathways to prosperity for our citizens,” said Dr. William S. Wainwright, Chancellor (NTCC).
GNOu is a demand-driven workforce development program, coordinated by GNO, Inc. for the benefit of the economy, higher education and the community. GNOu matches employers with schools of higher education to develop custom training programs for in-demand jobs. This generates a triple-win: the company gets specifically-trained workers; the school gets a market-relevant curriculum; and, the overall labor market grows with a better trained workforce.
“We applaud the Department of Labor and DRA’s continued investment in the Greater New Orleans Region and its strong partnership with GNO, Inc. and our technical and community colleges,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc. “This new investment will allow GNO, Inc. to continue supporting our region’s community colleges, and build on the success of our GNOu program, to ensure a more resilient economy and workforce. Through GNOu, and our partnerships with industry and higher education, we are training good people for great jobs, and creating a more diverse and mobile economy.”
GNOuO+ builds on the proven industry driven workforce-training model, GNOu, which was innovated in 2017. GNOuO+ will specifically target entrants to the workforce, dislocated workers, and incumbent workers, offering the opportunity for skills training, a work-based learning experience, and job placement in high-wage, career-pathway jobs. GNOuO+ will focus on scaling the successful Mechatronics Apprenticeship program and replicate this successful work-based learning program across other industries and occupations.
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) has set the standard for workforce development programs, through its FastStart initiative. LED supports the regional economic development alliances in innovating specific workforce programs, tailored based on the region’s workforce needs.
The $1.93 million grant for apprenticeships will be led by Lacombe-based Northshore Technical Community College, in collaboration with Delgado Community College and Nunez Community College, and will involve high-demand jobs in mechatronics, a field that blends electronics and mechanical engineering. In addition, Greater New Orleans Inc. will support the initiative through its GNOu program.
“Our economy is rapidly evolving, and preparing our citizens for the dynamic needs of the future requires new and highly innovative educational models,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “The Greater New Orleans Mechatronics Apprenticeship is just such a model. Industry-aligned programs that provide students with real-world work experience produce the kind of workers that fuel economic growth while providing our people with excellent long-term employment opportunities. We look forward to supporting this initiative and celebrating its successes.”
Through this Delta Regional Authority Grant (DRA), NTCC, GNO, Inc., DCC, and NCC will scale and replicate GNOuO+, providing quality jobs and a trained workforce for employers throughout the Greater New Orleans region.
The GNOuO+ approach is currently in pilot phase through the Greater New Orleans Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program (GNOMAP)—which currently leverages the faculty, equipment, and capacity of 3 community colleges to train 9 mechatronics apprentices currently employed by 3 companies (Laitram, Zatarain’s and Elmer Chocolate).
Potential new programs resulting from this strategic investment could include Marine Service Technicians, Environmental Technicians, Wind Technicians, Heavy Equipment Operators, and Machining.