NEW ORLEANS, LA--New Orleans Works (NOW), a workforce collaboration focused on the healthcare sector and housed at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, announces the launch of a partnership that will result in jobs for low-skilled workers in the healthcare field.
“One of our top priorities is linking New Orleanians to new, higher-paying jobs, and NOW is a great example of a public-private partnership that will help create a pathway to prosperity for our residents by connecting them to available healthcare jobs,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
“There are entry-level jobs available in the medical profession not being filled because the applicants lack basic skills training,” said Ellen Lee, Senior Vice President for programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Chair of the NOW collaborative.
To close the gap, NOW is introducing a program this summer to train 50 low-income jobseekers for the position of medical assistant through a collaborative effort among Ochsner Health System, Delgado Community College, JOB1 and Providence Community Housing. Upon successful completion of the program, all participants will be guaranteed a position as a medical assistant. At hospitals, medical assistants provide patient care alongside licensed healthcare providers, perform clerical work, transfer and discharge medical orders, and respond to patient and visitor inquiries.
“At any given time, we have 30 to 50 openings for medical assistants at Ochsner,” said Joan K. Mollohan, Senior Vice President of Ochsner Health System. “We look forward to working in partnership with Delgado Community College to make sure that the people applying for these jobs have the skills they need to succeed.” Soft-skill, non-clinical courses will be taught by Ochsner’s Leadership Institute while technical courses will be taught at Delgado Community College.
“As Louisiana’s most experienced and successful workforce development provider, Delgado Community College is pleased to be involved in another initiative that focuses on the needs of the community as well as business and industry,” said Dr. Monty Sullivan, Delgado Chancellor. “We look forward to working with our community partners and job providers on this promising new initiative, which will increase the number of trained healthcare professionals in the region while elevating the position of these individuals in the workforce.”
In fact, slightly over half of all participants in the program are currently in low-wage jobs within the healthcare field. They are housekeepers, janitors, valets, dieticians, and transport workers. Once they complete the training program and acquire new skills, they can move up the career ladder.
JOB1 is the City’s local public workforce development entity. JOB1 provides services and tuition assistance to help unemployed and under-employed individuals become gainfully employed. In partnership with NOW, JOB1 will recruit low-income unemployed jobseekers to participate in the NOW collaborative and provide supportive services to eligible participants including transportation assistance, test preparation assistance, and child care assistance.
The fourth organization in the partnership is Providence Community Housing, one of the largest nonprofit organizations located in the BioDistrict footprint. Providence will help recruit workers who live in the area. “With the opening of the medical complexes next year, we want our residents to be qualified for the jobs that will be within walking distance from their homes,” said Providence CEO Terri North. We want our neighbors to have opportunities to higher wages, better benefits, and career advancement.”
NOW’s investment in the workforce training program for the medical assistants field is $200,000 which includes the costs of tuition, transit, child care, and coaching for the 50 individuals participating in the program. Above all, participants will acquire technical and soft-skills needed for today’s jobs.
“If we’re successful in strengthening the field for medical assistants, there is no reason why we can’t replicate this model and parlay what we’ve learned into other fields,” said Lee.
NOW is a private-public collaborative started in 2011 when the National Fund for Workforce Solutions awarded a grant to the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Matching funds are leveraged from local partners including the City of New Orleans, BioDistrict New Orleans, Capital One Bank, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Baptist Community Ministries, and Urban Strategies. National philanthropic partners include the Ford, Kellogg, JPMorgan Chase, and Surdna Foundations.