Louisiana’s tech employers post nearly 1,000 job openings each month for roles in software development, programming, and network specialists, all of which can’t be filled by recent graduates alone. That’s a big reason why LED invests in non-traditional and innovative training providers that are using new learning models.
The best part? LED’s investments are diversifying the tech industry by placing minorities, women, and military veterans in highly-skilled roles.
Operation Spark, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, utilized LED FastStart’s investment to fuel a six-month intensive learning program for students from a diverse set of backgrounds in terms of age, gender, race, and education. Most were born in southeast Louisiana, over half have college degrees, and the majority have some form of professional experience in the workplace.
More than 60 companies have hired Operation Spark graduates since 2014, and nearly 100 percent of graduates land careers with an average starting salary of $60,000 just three to six months after graduation.
But our investment doesn’t end with expanding equitable access to training opportunities. At Apprenti Louisiana, LED FastStart’s partnership is focused on increasing apprenticeships in the tech industry.
Apprenti Louisiana actively recruits women, minorities, and veterans to aid in diversifying the industry, and its national network partners with the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprentices participate in a highly intensive classroom learning experience and receive paid on-the-job training for highly-skilled roles.
Further supporting veterans in the tech industry is NextOp Louisiana, whose mission is serving those who served. Military training and experience often translate to valuable qualifications in tech. NextOp connects skilled veterans with companies that need those qualifications. NextOp is the only organization in Louisiana that focuses solely on recruiting and placing veterans in rewarding careers.
“Our Operation Spark graduates hit the ground running on day one," said GE's Doug Poirrier. "Their motivation, passion, and creativity are contagious. Their unique perspectives are welcome additions to our teams.”
“Students that participate in Operation Spark’s programs are well-prepared for the workforce in a variety of high wage positions; these are easily hirable people," said Ryan Williams, Vice President of Research and Development for Select Laboratory Partners. "Through the course of the program, each graduate built a strong portfolio and developed an understanding of essential programming languages and skills required for our work environment.”