Community and technical colleges in Louisiana have started the “Reboot Your Career” project in which 5,000 Louisiana workers who are out of a job due to the coronavirus pandemic are being retrained for high-demand positions that earn around $50,000 a year. This program’s launch was outlined in an Advocate article, and it details that this immense effort is meeting a large demand.
The president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Monty Sullivan, reported that the state of Louisiana has recently already received hundreds of inquiries since the project began on September 14th, emphasizing how large the demand for such a project is in his area.
The “Reboot Your Career” project aims to retrain its workers in eight to twelve weeks at reduced tuition rates, so that those completing the program can enter either jobs or a career path where additional certification and education can pave the way for advancement in their field. This hope that the education continues certainly sets these workers up for upward mobility and a launching pad in general- as opposed to the stagnant state that many faced with the lay-offs and closed businesses left in the wake of the pandemic.
The program trains applicants for high-demand jobs from a list that was compiled after consulting with regional development leaders in Baton Rouge, including the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and GNO Inc, as well as the New Orleans area.
Jobs posted after hearing input from development leaders included positions in the health field, including nursing and medical assistants; the transportation field, including crane operators, car, and truck repair workers; the construction field, including carpenters, electricians, and plumbers; and the fields of technology, manufacturing, and power-line installation. The complete list as well as other information on applying to the project is available at lectcs.edu/reboot.
An effort similar to the “Reboot Your Career” project came to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina struck the state in 2005. The disaster resulted in the training of 16,000 new construction workers, who were much-needed and heralded.
Senior Vice President for economic competitiveness at BRAC, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Liz Smith praised the effort, stating that both community and technical colleges had stepped up in 2016 when the state needed construction workers. “”I think they have a proven track record to be able to do this,” Smith stated, “”You see across the country short-term training is a very helpful answer for a large number of unemployed workers.”
In the Advocate’s article, Smith said that the group she works with shares its job board, BR Works, with state officials to help the project. BR Works’ job board includes more than 1,000 job postings from employers, with the highest demand being in the technology, health care, business, construction trade, law, and digital art design fields.
Louisiana’s Commissioner for Higher Education, Kim Hunter Reed, told the Advocate that she believes the most critical need for the restarting of the economy is education, saying that it “is a centerpiece of the work. The community colleges were made for this moment.”
The “Reboot Your Career” project initially made itself known with a 15-second ad played during the September 13th New Orleans Saints game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there are more ads to come throughout the season, as ads will be playing in a Saturday slot of CBS college football games.
The project is funded partially from the state’s education share from the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that was approved earlier this year by Congress called the CARES Act. Governor John Bel Edwards allocated $15.5 million for colleges and universities with $10 million financing the project’s integral retraining of workers.
For more Louisiana related articles, click here.