Jefferson Chamber’s ‘Louisiana Calling’ To Spotlight Statewide Career Opportunities

METAIRIE, LA – The mission of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce’s “Louisiana Calling” is to use the power of communications to inspire, inform and ultimately change the perceptions and behavior of people across Louisiana towards high-income, high-demand jobs.

         Over the past several years, a trending gap in high-wage career opportunities and a trained workforce was observed. In response, business and industry representatives created Louisiana Calling and went to work. LA Calling is 100% privately funded and has raised approximately $5 million to date. Jefferson Chamber chairman Mike Palamone is a member of the board.

         The first step the organization took was to carry out a statewide survey, revealing that people had strong biases and misperceptions about jobs that do not require a 4-year degree. To fill the gap and make an impact, Louisiana Calling knew they had to change these misperceptions, so they decided to start a movement. They began by conducting interviews throughout the state, targeting three main groups (teachers, students and influencers) and formulating a marketing plan designed to create awareness, change perception and drive action.

         Louisiana Calling reps said something big is happening in Louisiana that employers in the state have dreamed of for decades – aligning higher education to deliver the workforce skills needed in today's high-tech economy. This effort is in no way complete, but Louisiana's recent progress has been impressive, they said.

         Reps also said public high schools are joining this effort by launching Jump Start – Louisiana's innovative career and technical education program that allows students to earn certifications in high-income career sectors while still in high school, preparing them to go directly into the workforce or to attend college to further their education.

         Louisiana Calling reps said the timing is good for these workforce development breakthroughs because the largest projected economic expansion in Louisiana history (including tens of billions of dollars in announced capital projects) has just begun. High value jobs are plentiful in the state today, they said, and will grow steadily in the foreseeable future.

         But there is a problem. Louisiana Calling reps said our culture often places the stigma of second class status on citizens that have not earned a four-year university degree, based upon the outdated perception that there is only one real path to success. Unfortunately, about 80% of Louisiana's adult population will not earn a university degree and these citizens need to know that there are many different paths of education and training available that can lead them to high-value jobs and rewarding careers, they said.

         Louisiana Calling reps said they want to change the perceptions of people across Louisiana resulting in a new attitude and behavior towards customized educational and skilled career paths and that this kind of change in public perception will necessitate development of a strong new brand and a comprehensive multi-year marketing and communications campaign.

         Louisiana Calling is supported by key industry, business and government leaders who are concerned about meeting Louisiana's workforce needs, and creating a better future for its citizens. Reps said their work is guided by research, and their campaigns are being designed by nationally recognized marketing experts with collaborative input from the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE), the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) and the Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges System (LCTCS).

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