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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 04, 2006
Contact: Christina Stephens, christina.stephens@la.gov

Governor Blanco, LRA and Workforce Commission Launch $38 Million Workforce Training Program Focused on Sectors with Highest Demand
Service Providers Invited to Apply, Submit Proposals

BATON ROUGE, La. (October 04, 2006) - In partnership with Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) and the Office of Community Development (OCD) today launched the Recovery Workforce Training Program (RWTP), a $38 million workforce recovery program to train workers to fill high-demand jobs in construction, healthcare, transportation, advanced manufacturing, oil and gas, and the cultural sector.

"I am determined that Louisiana workers across our state benefit from the largest construction economy our state has ever seen," Governor Blanco said. "Our workforce training program equips Louisiana workers with the skills they need to secure good paying jobs with benefits. We are investing in this newly trained workforce to provide the support our families and communities need as they continue to rebuild."

Last year, hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana destroying more than 200,000 homes, and 18,000 businesses. While Louisiana experienced some job loss in the immediate aftermath of the storms, Louisiana is now experiencing an increase in employment demand that exceeds pre-storm demand, especially in key recovery sectors such as construction and health care.

The RWTP was designed to coordinate Louisiana's workforce training system to meet employer demands for skilled workers in these key recovery sectors while simultaneously providing training and opportunities to residents impacted by the storms that have returned or are still displaced.

Funded by Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the program will include comprehensive strategies for recruiting, training, hiring, and retaining a skilled and productive workforce specific to the immediate needs of the hurricane-impacted regions and recovery-critical sectors.

"We developed this program specifically to address the unique challenges facing our workforce in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said LRA Board Member and Economic Development Task Force Chair Matt Stuller. "Now, Louisianans will have the resources they need to find good jobs in areas essential to our recovery."

The Louisiana Workforce Commission, the agency that is administering the program, has begun requesting proposals for the RWTP. Proposals should be submitted by organizations that form collaborative alliances, preferably regional alliances, led by a workforce intermediary and including key stakeholders which include, but are not limited to: employers in a specific sector, business groups and/or industry/trade associations representing a specific sector, public and private post-secondary education institutions, Workforce Investment Boards, labor or community based organizations, and other training providers.

Programs that address the needs of local underserved populations such as high school students not planning to go to college, out-of-school youth, soon to be released inmates, and adults needing basic skills instruction such as reading and math may also be included in the alliances.

"Today marks an exciting new phase of this process," said John Freeman, chair of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. "Over the coming weeks, we will be encouraging workforce training providers to work with employers in these sectors to submit their information and apply for the program."

The Request for Proposals (RFP) and corresponding guidelines were developed through collaborative efforts of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Department of Labor, Louisiana Community & Technical College System, the Board of Regents, Louisiana Economic Development and the LRA.

Click here to download the RFP and other related information. Inquiries about the RFP must be submitted to the Workforce Commission in writing no later than October 11, 2006, and will be researched and answered by October 16, 2006.

The RWTP is seeking proposals from entities with proven track records in developing and implementing sector-based workforce training programs in one or more of the recovery sectors identified. Each applicant will be required to provide a detailed plan of the proposed approach the group would use to deliver the skilled workforce.

Projects will be funded in parishes most damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including those with substantial infrastructure damage. Preference will be given to collaboratives within each region that include the key partners such as:

  • Companies and/or industry associations for which the training and hiring will be done
  • Community and/or technical colleges
  • Workforce Investment Boards
  • Other training providers
  • Other interested parties

While the program is focused on construction, healthcare, transportation, advanced manufacturing, oil and gas and tourism, other sectors will be considered on a case by case basis.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.

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