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Robottom: Employment is calling. Are you ready?

According to Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) statistics, Louisiana has an unprecedented demand for skilled workers throughout the state, but these positions often require training or education beyond a high school diploma.

This is why St. John the Baptist Parish has joined the “Louisiana Calling” movement to assist vulnerable groups with obtaining skills training and finding careers in today’s economy.

Whether young and unable to afford university tuition, unemployed because jobs are being replaced by technology or formerly incarcerated and struggling to find stable work, the goal is to make everyone employable.

Louisiana offers a multitude of pathways for sustainable jobs and great careers.

From the K-12 system to community colleges, technical colleges, four-year universities and technical training programs, Louisiana has the training programs needed to help families thrive.

However, bridging the gap between these jobs and our residents remains a struggle.

“Louisiana Calling”, a Louisiana-based nonprofit comprised of community leaders and state organizations, is a public messaging campaign that utilizes communication outlets and media to promote community resources — including technical education and training, internships, readiness and certification programs, loan opportunities, etc. — to every citizen.

The time to connect individuals with opportunities is now, not four or five years from now.

The “Louisiana Calling” campaign aims to jumpstart our residents into life-long and sustainable employment. The LWC predicts that by 2022, Louisiana will add over 235,000 new jobs in comparison to 152,753 in 2015.

We must ensure that our citizens are ready and able to take advantage of these opportunities as they come to fruition.

In our Parish, the Economic Development Department works very closely with the South Central LA Technical College- Reserve Campus, the Port of South Louisiana and industry and business leaders to make sure training programs remain relevant.

It is critical that our school system partners remain abreast of available educational and training opportunities and encourage students and their parents to explore options present in their own backyards.

The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in years at 4.9 percent and this is a major accomplishment.

The “Louisiana Calling” initiative calls attention to the programs at our local technical college to help with entry into the workforce.

Please take advantage of all that is offered right here in St. John Parish.  For more information on the campaign, visit louisianacalling.org.

Natalie Robottom is St. John the Baptist Parish President. She can be reached at communications@stjohn-la.gov.