Job training available in St. John: Louisiana Workforce Commission ready to assist community

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

LAPLACE — Louisiana Workforce Commission strives to create a community qualified to answer employment opportunities whenever they come knocking, but success is only possible when residents take advantage of no-cost programs to build skills and obtain certifications.

LWC Workforce Investment Board Director Tommy Scott III invites the public to visit the new LaPlace office, located behind the Donut Hole at 421 W. Airline Highway, Suite F.

He said guests should bring an ID, social security card, birth certificate or passport to establish identity and eligibility for government funds, which could potentially pay for tuition reimbursement or thousands of dollars worth of training.

“It’s extremely important to promote these programs because I think it’s a tragedy if the residents of the River Parishes do not take advantage of the money sent here for these reasons,” Scott said.

A native of St. Rose and a graduate of Destrehan High School, Scott has lived in the River Region his whole life, and he yearns to see everyone in the community succeed.

For the past 10 years, he’s researched career outlooks and has served as a liaison between job seekers and employers.

Scott has seen a lot of employers come to the area seeking to hire locally, and one of the biggest complaints is a lack of competency and training among candidates.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission LaPlace office recently moved from Cambridge subdivision to 421 W. Airline Highway Suite F, behind The Donut Hole.

“That’s where Louisiana Workforce Commission comes in,” Scott said. “We work closely with the technical college, River Parishes Community College, St. John Parish government and Economic Development to get the word out for our local residents to take advantage of training opportunities.”

Beyond offering training out training, Scott said LWC helps job seekers with locating careers, composing resumes, preparing for job interviews and learning vital computer skills.

Periodic accelerated training programs offer tuition reimbursement, he said.

Local Area Coordinator Annie Harmon said LWC also benefits employment agencies by prescreening applicants, collecting applications and providing tax cuts through the State of Louisiana.

“It helps the employers in our area to give them employees with qualified skills, so that’s always a good thing for the community,” Harmon said. “We’re here to assist both the public and employers, and anyone is welcome to come in and use our facility.”

An on-the-job training program reimburses an employer up to 50 percent of a new employee’s salary during the initial duration of their hiring, given the employee obtains a full-time position with the completion of the program.

Despite an array of opportunity, Scott said participation in cost-free programs remains hit-or-miss.

He can’t identify the blockage, and Scott said the only solution is to continue working with educational and government entities to promote programs and reach as many people as possible.

Though LWC supports all career paths, training programs with reimbursement opportunities are focused on “in-demand” occupations within the medical field, construction, transportation and the film industry.

In 2017, the first collaboration between Ochsner Health System and Louisiana Workforce Commission saw 18 students graduate with CMA certifications from the Boutte Adult Learning Center.

The first no-cost collaboration between Ochsner Health System and Louisiana Workforce Commission saw 18 students graduate with CMA certifications in 2017.

The 20-week course included 16 weeks of classroom time and 4 weeks of clinicals, and Ochsner hired all 18 graduates, Scott said.

Harmon said the medical assistant program was LWC’s most successful venture yet, culminating in a lot of calls and community interest.

Another certified medical assistant program is being conducted this summer in coordination with East Jefferson General Hospital. Applicants are being accepted now.

Beginning in May, a collaboration with New Orleans Video and Audio Center will teach participants basic camera operation, lighting and other technical aspects of film industry careers.

Interested individuals are asked to visit the LaPlace office between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday or between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday for more information.