DRA Chairwoman Leslie Durham Joined By Secretary Ava Cates

January 13, 2022

Two New Orleans-based organizations among 10 projects selected for funding.

NEW ORLEANS – Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham today was joined by Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Cates, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and additional Louisiana leaders to announce $1.9 million in investments awarded through the Delta Workforce Grant Program (DWP). Two New Orleans-based organizations were among 10 projects selected for funding.

“The Delta Workforce Grant Program makes targeted investments into programs throughout the Delta region that are solving skilled labor shortages by meeting local industry needs to get individuals back to work within our communities,” said DRA Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham.  “As a result of Delta Regional Authority’s $1.9 million investment, a projected 834 people will receive industry-based skills training and then placed into a high-demand job within their community.”

DWP invests federal resources into workforce development projects throughout the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions particularly hard hit by industrial downsizing, business closures, and job losses as a result of the public health and economic crises. The program supports projects and initiatives that create a more vibrant economic future for the Delta region by expanding job training and re-employment opportunities, aligning workforce and economic development strategies, creating sustainable talent pipelines, establishing or enhancing local and regionally significant public-private partnerships, and supporting enhanced workforce productivity through investments in innovative programming.

“The Delta Workforce Grant program provides critical funding for projects and initiatives that help our economy thrive,” said LWC Secretary Ava Cates.  “This money will help create jobs and build communities by strengthening the workforce in areas all throughout the Mississippi Delta area of Louisiana by investing in the right kinds of initiatives at the right time.” 

DRA made available $1.9 million in grants ranging from $50,000 - $200,000 to address the employment and training needs of the local and regional workforce, created in collaboration with community partners and aligned with existing economic and workforce development plans and strategies.  GNO, Inc. Development Foundation and New Orleans Technical Education Provider (NOTEP) each received a $200,000 grant. 

GNO, Inc. Development Foundation is working in collaboration with the Louisiana Parole Board and Orleans Parish Office of Workforce Development for Project Rebirth, which will support unmet hiring needs while also providing a second chance through a stable career pathway for re-entry talent.  Partners will work together to build awareness, action, and employer engagement specifically focused on three sectors experiencing talent shortages:  construction, healthcare, and manufacturing.  The project service area includes 9 Southeast Louisiana parishes:  Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, and Washington.  GNO, Inc. Development Foundation anticipates training 60 individuals and serving 20 businesses during the 24-month grant period.

“As employers are facing acute hiring challenges, this program presents an opportunity to focus on creating meaningful, in-demand employment opportunities for an underutilized, yet qualified segment of our community,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Project Rebirth is made possible by the commitment and vision of our partner organizations who will work together to strengthen employment opportunities for citizens re-entering the workforce after time served. We’d like to sincerely thank the Delta Regional Authority for issuing this grant, as well as employer partners, including Laitram and Big Easy Bucha, who have long-supported this work.”

NOTEP will expand its adult workforce program to train 100 individuals during the 24-month grant period.  The NOTEP program will provide job placement services within three Southeast Louisiana opportunity zones to help displaced workers earn a career in skilled crafts industries.  NOTEP also will leverage this funding to partner with YouthForce NOLA to provide industry exposure, technical training, and employment support for the area’s young minority populations.

“We are grateful for the Delta Regional Authority’s investment in NOTEP’s adult trainees,” said NOTEP Trade School President Adam Bourne.  “It will change the trajectory of trainees’ lives while meeting local employers’ hiring needs.  In addition, the investment will help close the skills gap in the Greater New Orleans region.”

Programs funded through DWP provide workforce training and education to individuals residing in the eight-state DRA region and include at least one employer partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand industry sector. 

Click here to see the full list of 2021 DWP awardees.

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 About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

DRA Media Contact:
Shawna Blair
202-515-1354
sblair@dra.gov