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Forster: People are working in Louisiana

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 19, 1998

LAPLACE – Louisiana Labor Secretary Garey Forster addressed the fourth annual Tri-Parish Social for the business associations of St. James, St.John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes Wednesday, and told them, “Thisis a great time in Louisiana!” The social was held at Bull’s Corner Restaurant.

Forster outlined the progress made by Gov. Foster’s WorkforceCommission, which is reshaping programs and training systems to move people off the welfare rolls and onto job training programs and new jobs.

Working closely with the business community, educational resources, labor and other resources, the idea was to eliminate duplication of services, channel, organize and direct training programs and work toward keeping people working.

“The governor wants career opportunities for these people,” Forster said.

A major thrust of the commission, he added, was to get everyone communicating, so everyone knows what everyone else is doing. “It’s soexciting to get everybody talking.”With Louisiana’s current healthy economy, people are moving into the state, snapping up jobs. At the same time, welfare reform is movingpeople into the job marketplace.

Programs to handle not only training but to head off obstacles such as child-care needs and transportation are also provided, as well as on-the- job training programs and six months of monitoring to make sure the newly-working stay working. Retention rates are in the 70 to 80percentages. “They really appreciate the jobs,” Forster asserted.The commission recently developed an ongoing study of the 25 top jobs, not only those fastest-growing but also the 25 top-volume jobs, needing the most new employees, all broken down by geographic region and updated every two years.

In addition, Forster said, a website is online for job-seekers, not only for job openings, but for training programs, evaluation of these programs and success stories. The site is at www.ldol.state.la.us and is available at anypublic library through their internet computers.

Also, more information is available through the Department of Labor’s toll-free telephone number, 1-877-LA-WORKS.

“It’s an exciting time!” he said. “Business is doing well and hungry forlabor.”

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