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LED FastStart drives Good Jobs Challenge submission

LED FastStart Impact

LED FASTSTART Sustaining

LED FastStart drives Good Jobs Challenge submission

EDA award would bring $25 million to build a well-aligned network of regional partners

A close working relationship with the state of Louisiana and a national reputation for gold-standard workforce development have given LED FastStart a lane to access federal funding. Most recently, FastStart led the charge to develop a statewide submission to the Economic Development Authority’s Good Jobs Challenge, part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The challenge is a competitive $500 million federal grant program for strengthening regional workforce training systems to train workers with in-demand skills that directly result in job placements through partnerships and stakeholder commitments. Louisiana’s submission seeks $25 million to build upon the momentum established by Governor John Bel Edward’s Resilient Louisiana Commission, establishing a statewide network of regional workforce systems under the leadership of the Louisiana Board of Regents. The state has backed this with a commitment of $5 million in matching funds.

The award would spark a new initiative: Training Adult Louisianians to be Equipped aNd Transformative (TALENT), a program rooted in strategies for building a more efficient and inclusive regional labor market, aligning skilled talent with economic needs, and bringing together stakeholders across all sectors to create industry partnerships.

The TALENT blueprint focuses each of Louisiana’s eight geographic regions on a primary industry, with programming designed, developed and executed in partnership with educators, workforce partners and community organizations. The initiative will secure employment for people living in poverty , people of color and residents of rural communities.

Regional Partnerships

Regional Partnerships

TALENT designates a different backbone organization – either a Regional Economic Development Organizations or a community college – to lead a single industry partnership in each economic region. The REDOs are business-led, predominantly privately funded non-profit organizations, and the colleges have strong track records of fostering and maintaining deeply engaged industry partnerships. The regions and their proposed backbone organizations: 

  • Acadiana (Skilled Trades/Construction): One Acadiana leads the charge from the south-central region of the state. It serves as a REDO for the nine-parish area surrounding Lafayette and as the central business organization for the city of Lafayette. 
  • Bayou (Alternative Energy): Fletcher Technical Community College is the backbone organization in the seven-parish Bayou region. An existing EDA grant awardee, FTCC is an open-admissions college.
  • Capital (Technology): The lead organization in the nine-parish area surrounding Baton Rouge is the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Working with local and state entities to advance economic development, BRAC works with small businesses, large industries, entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations.
  • Central (Healthcare): Louisiana Central is the lead organization in the eight-parish area, including Alexandria. The organization has focused on workforce as the key to the region’s growth and has worked extensively with educational institutions, industry, and regional philanthropic organizations.
  • Northeast (Utilities Infrastructure): Louisiana Delta Community College is the backbone organization in the Northeast region. Louisiana Delta is an open-admissions college with eight campuses serving over 5,000 students offering two-year degree programs, certificates, and courses. 
  • Northwest (Advanced Manufacturing): North Louisiana Economic Partnership leads the Northwest region, including Shreveport. A catalyst to advance economic development, the organization is the REDO for this 14-parish region.
  • Southeast (Technology): Greater New Orleans Development Foundation is the backbone organization of the five-parish area surrounding New Orleans. GNODF is an affiliate of Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) which works with the business community, local, state, and federal governments, higher education and nonprofit partners to catalyze action on key workforce issues in southeast Louisiana.
  • Southwest (Hospitality): The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance includes Lake Charles and the five-parish area surrounding it. The organization is the area REDO and leads business and workforce development initiatives.
Target Demographics

Target Demographics

Each region will target individuals within particular sets of demographics, including:

  • Income-constrained populations: One of the primary objectives of the TALENT initiative is to help income-constrained individuals through training and placement in quality jobs. 
  • Communities of color: Community-based organizations in regional sectoral partnerships will help ensure strategies are responsive to the challenges these communities face. 
  • Rural populations: Rural areas need different models to enable inclusion in training and job placement efforts. These unique elements in support of rural populations will be especially important in the Northeast, Central, and Southwest regions. 
Employer Leadership and Commitments

Employer Leadership and Commitments

The TALENT initiative would build new partnerships while expanding existing ones to engage employers within local workforce development systems across all eight regions. Each backbone organization has secured participation commitments from multiple regional employers that will help design training programs for each region’s sectoral partnership.

Shaping future outcomes

Shaping future outcomes

LED FastStart’s leadership in driving this initiative is yet another workforce differentiator. All states have programs to help businesses establish or grow their operations. LED FastStart keeps its focus ahead of the curve, combining exceptional planning, execution and innovation to ensure that Louisiana can sustain the talented workforce that it so brilliantly helps businesses recruit and train.