New Orleans Career Center Expanding

Interior Atrium Stair
Rendering from SCNZ Architects provided by the New Orleans Career Center

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Career Center says business is booming.

This year, the job-training nonprofit has expanded enrollment, added instructors and staff, increased funding, grown partnerships and enlarged the scope of its programs and pathways. In addition, the renovation of the nonprofit’s new home at 1331 Kerlerec Street is nearing completion.

This year, 382 young people are enrolled in NOCC’s career prep and technical training for high schoolers. The organization has hired 10 new people and three existing employees have been promoted. The NOCC board is also expanding: Shannon Joseph, national director of nursing workforce pipeline at Ascension Health, and architect Christian Rodriguez, principal at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, joined the board in October. Andre Kelly, New Orleans district area manager for Associated General Contractors of Louisiana, and Melissa Sparks, vice president, talent management at Ochsner Health,will contribute their industry expertise to the board starting early next year.

This year, NOCC welcomed the LAUNCH extension academy, a year-long career prep and training program for new high school graduates that began at YouthForce NOLA. Emily Ferris moved to NOCC to continue leading the program, and was joined by former LAUNCH team members Hannah Curry, Patrice Hammond and Geraldlyn Johnson. LAUNCH moved to NOCC to expand on its previous growth: participation doubled this fall.

In addition, NOCC recently announced its LPN Apprenticeship pilot program in partnership with Delgado Charity School of Nursing and Ochsner. NOCC has already added two new instructors and begun recruiting for the first group of LPN apprentices next fall.

The Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management pathway celebrated its first RYRA Apprentice in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association. NOCC grad Ren Sommeillan-Harris recently completed a line cook apprenticeship at local breakfast hotspot Wakin’ Bakin’ and has been hired full-time as a line cook. Two LAUNCH participants, Sophia Elder and Denika Williams, have been hired as line cook apprentices at Saba.

Nocc Atrium2 Courtesy Of Broadmoor ConstOnce in the new building, NOCC will add skilled crafts (carpentry, electrical, HVAC, welding) and digital/IT/cybersecurity pathways for high school trainees and emergency medical service training for adults.

NOCC said its partnerships with Ochsner Health and LCMC Health grew stronger and more formal this year. Both organizations continue to support the Adult Rapid Reskill training program. With Ochsner and Delgado Charity School of Nursing, NOCC recently announced the area’s first LPN Apprenticeship program. LCMC now formally includes NOCC as a workforce development partner in its annual planning and budgeting. Additional partnerships to support new training pathways in skilled crafts and digital/IT/cybersecurity are under development.

NOCC’s donor partnerships also expanded in 2022. The organization’s largest grant came from the U.S. Department of Labor, via the Delta Regional Authority, which awarded NOCC $1.28 million in career training and education funds specifically to help offset regional job losses in the energy extraction industry.

In the Spring of 2023, NOCC will move into its newly customized building, designed to replicate state-of-the-art workspaces. In this 143,000-square-foot building, the next generation of New Orleans workers can explore their options, gain technical skills and prepare to enter employment and college, confident and capable.

At 1331 Kerlerec Street, NOCC trainees – whether high schoolers, new grads or adults – will have access to clinic and hospital simulation labs, a fully functional ambulance bay, CAD lab and maker space and a commercial-grade kitchen and catering space, along with a huge outdoor construction collaboration area.

NOCC expects to move into the Kerlerec Street building in early 2023. Additional pathways, programs, and partnerships will be added and announced throughout the year.

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