South Louisiana Community College: First-of-Its-Kind Workforce Collaboration in Louisiana

Christine Payton
Member Spotlight

South Louisiana Community College (SLCC), the board of directors for Local Workforce Development Board #40, and area parish presidents are partnering to improve workforce development in the region. The collaboration—a first for a community college in Louisiana—falls under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) enacted in 2014.

Through a competitive selection process, SLCC was chosen to serve as the One-Stop Operator and Career Services provider for Local Workforce Development Area #40, which includes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion parishes. The community college has campuses in each of these parishes.

“It makes sense to partner with SLCC, not only because of its footprint in Acadiana, but also because of services and training already provided and established at the community college,” said Ava Dejoie, Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director.

WIOA services include training options, resume writing, and job placement for job seekers. Business Developers reach out to business partners to build relationships and assist with job postings. The centers seek to help unemployed residents, displaced workers, and at-risk youths in the service area.

Brenda Hubbard-Thomas, LWDB #40 WIOA Executive Director, said:

The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act puts great emphasis on the out-of-school youth, collaborations with re-entry and adult education partners, individuals with disabilities, in addition to the unemployed and underemployed populations. The board of LWDB #40 is confident that SLCC will be successful in coordinating the alignment of services among the One-Stop partners that will promote and increase successful outcomes to both the individual and the employer. Special gratitude to the parish presidents, Louisiana Workforce Commission Office of Workforce Development, LWDB #40 board of directors, One-Stop Committee members, attorney, CPA, partners, and, most importantly, the dedicated team of SLPG/LWDB #40 for continuous improvement of our Workforce Development programs.

Local Workforce Development Board #40 is made up of volunteers from all eight parishes who represent private-sector business, labor, economic development, education, veterans’ interests, community-based organizations, and state agencies. These include Acadia Parish Police Jury President David Savoy, Evangeline Parish Police Jury Secretary-Treasurer Donald Bergeron, Iberia Parish President Larry Richard, Lafayette Parish President Joel Robideaux, St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot, St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier, St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff, and Vermilion Parish Administrator Linda Duhon.

SLCC has partnerships with local economic and workforce development areas across Acadiana, along with private businesses, to provide short-term training for industry-based certifications for careers in commercial truck driving, industrial scaffolding, and online healthcare programs.

“SLCC’s focus is meeting the needs of business and industry in our region. Community colleges, like ours, are unique in that they are market-driven public institutions that must provide programs of proven value to students in order to thrive,” said Jermaine Ford, SLCC Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Solutions.

Whether for academic or short-term training, the college also partners with business and industry through advisory boards, SLCC Foundation board, and various consortiums.

According to Dr. Natalie Harder, SLCC Chancellor:

The community college is committed to providing strategic focus and greater access to WIOA services in the comprehensive center(s) and satellite center locations for the full spectrum of customers—job seekers and employers—increasing the ability to integrate job creation and job filling.

“This collaboration will provide streamlined workforce development programs that will help residents get immediate employment in high-demand fields,” said Harder. “It’s a win-win for the job seeker and the business community with workforce needs.”

Christine Payton is the Communications and Marketing Director for South Louisiana Community College.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.