WWL>Topics>>3-18 2:10pm Open Mind : New Orleans Skilled Workers

3-18 2:10pm Open Mind : New Orleans Skilled Workers

Mar 18, 2014|

Angela talks to GNO Inc Chairman of the Board Patricia LeBlanc, GNO President & CEO of GNO Inc Michael Hecht, and Member of the Business Council Greg Russovich about the need for skilled workers in New Orleans.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well I certainly hope you or is encouraged design was listening to our new coroner Jeffrey Rouse. And it's going to be a great addition he cares a great deal about what he does and and the office would just grow and grow from there. All right we are on to our -- we hear more and more these days that the New Orleans area is a place to do business. It's the news we've waited literally decades to hear the major company that left after the storm is coming home. Other companies are expanding. And new companies are looking to New Orleans and the surrounding area as their home. This is all positive news but not without a concern. The biggest being having an educated workforce prepared for the upcoming new jobs. I guess as problems go it's a good one ahead of but it's a very real one that has to be addressed today. Michael Hecht president and CEO of -- you know ink. Maybe appeal to the business community recently and joins us today to discuss that issue. As does the new chairwoman of -- -- -- And Greg Russa bitch a member of the business council and a welcome all three of you here. This is such a wonderful time to be part of this community. I think everybody feels that and we all probably been here long enough to remember the days when the mantra was aware of the jobs. Now we're hearing that jobs camera looking. Where the people to fill those jobs and so that your real concern. That's right and -- said this is in many ways say it wonderful concern. For us to have because -- alternative to stagnation. And clear objective about it we had that for many many years about forty years. But now we have this in traditional industries like trade over number one in the country and export growth. On the energy we're looking at 42000 jobs in the coming years and then in new industries like technology were the fastest growing in the country. The real question for us now is can we supply enough qualified workers. To meet their demand that the world are bringing to our doorstep to locate him produced here can you give me specifically. What kind of jobs. You'll be looking for let's say in the oil and gas industry. Sure well in the oil and gas industry I'm actually can't be specific because it's so broad. It's process technology jobs it goes all the way up the latter two engineering jobs and it is really with some very. Entry level law welding jobs as well it's blue collar -- white collar. And it spans across our industry segments and so. On one and that's good news because it means we do fill these jobs were gonna have an economy that's much more diverse and it's been. For decades and that was really our Achilles heel after the oil bust of the early eighties that we are all invested in one industry where is Houston diversified in the it to better. On the other hand it does mean that the demand on -- two -- schools are for your schools and also on our recruiting is going to be -- levels and never has been. And if we can't train enough of our local population -- -- -- top and the same time bringing new people to help fill the hole in the meanwhile. That not only is our our. Our recovery going to be sub optimize but even local existing companies have been here for many many years. Our market appeal to grow here like there would be able to -- Greg Lisovicz with the business council you've had been such a leader in the community for so long did you see this coming as well this all of a sudden we're hearing. We need these skilled workers. Looking back. -- Angela Figo pre Katrina I think there had the common certain laziness. Within the community frankly within the business community in many parts of the community and I think that Katrina was that awakening. To the community. And I think. That the business community -- and they had an incredible response as is the civic community and -- as political leadership. And I think putting together the types of plans that we don't in terms of reform that we put in place across the region and the city. And that combined with the economic development efforts on our business growth and recruiting of companies and retention of companies. Has led to where we've. Taken the foundational industries international trade and energy. And we've built on the news through. Technology and through digital media. And through bio research to now build up that foundation and so now I think we've got a tremendous opportunity huge opportunity now. And I think that is is now begging the need for workforce. So I think we put together a good plan and would now acts accusing the plan. And it needs you know there are some weaknesses workforce development is on getting an international flight more international like capacities and other. But are those are good challenges and based on what the community has gone so far in terms of overcoming every child is no doubt the will look on the Easter elders. I was reading an article which I'm sure you all seem to put it was. It was a recent report by the Brookings institute and it was looking at sort of the ten year. -- period from 2000 to 210. And how younger people have been if you robbed but have missed out in job opportunities in that decade for a myriad of reasons. And and even to eleven and twelve. Tonight when I read that I thought to myself that's interesting because I'm thinking in terms of you all needing the younger people to come in and be trained senator senator. So if we have a group out there who. How to we happened to them -- guess that's the question how to we get those people that. Have been you know wandering. And and or not doing exactly what they want to do and grab them and say here's some beautiful opportunities. Now and coming up the pike. I'm well well and we have AI guess one what comic first is that the unemployment rate in Louisiana. Has now dipped below 5%. To that's incredible and if you are an employer that's actually -- probably not that good news it means that the labor markets getting really tight but if you're looking for jobs. Mean this is a great place to come to him. We have a couple of tools we've put on the web that I think are useful on this regard won his work Noah dot com. Work -- dot com is our local monster.com -- we can go and put in not to what job before but your skills. And then we'll make a match at a -- level. And then we have a new product that I'm really proud of call destination -- you know. And destination Juno dot com is like a lifestyle Turbotax where you're seeking to recruit somebody. To the region and they don't understand the full diversity of options which could be downtown in the suburbs actually in the country on the lake front. They can put in what their lifestyle choices and then we'll tell them which of 43 communities across the entire time parish region. Would be the best match for them help them buy a house hope to apply a school public -- congress lesson and so. We're hoping that these two tools not make a better match between. The national workforce looking for jobs and the demand that we have here that's like having a person take your hand and walking through the whole process. It's meant to be really a -- experienced that at the same time that helps route is evidence is a level of diversity that. Real little to -- the country appreciates that we have here in terms of lifestyle. I think one of the important things that Michael just said is that destinations you know. Which really something that we developed that you know he developed in response to. Comments from major employers that say you know. We have a lot of people here who have heart of new lawns but you know they can't really persuade their workforce so to speak. To choose their -- as a lifestyle because they don't you know what they know about it I mean typically -- people now by new -- are in street minding lots of fun things but they don't necessarily know about new lines as a hound. As a place to raise a family. Destination -- I think is is one of the tools that we've developed to be able. To to give information to those prospective employees. To say hey. There are a lot of -- -- out this lifestyle choices here. Come take a look so I mean in answer to one media questions before what would you do about workforce -- think -- knowing the answer is twofold. One you trained people who are here to meet the opportunities and that frankly is the focus of a lot of the efforts. You train the folks who are here and who -- Louisiana citizens and who. We want to have the skill sets to make to meet those future opportunities second we active. Realistically evaluate that we need additional scaled that looks frankly and that looks like. We're gonna have need to reach out pace. What we're going to be able to produce and so you want to recruit. On the other young folks to say hey this is a good choice for your future. Com and Michael you can I mean the one thing I thought was pretty cool is. The decision to trying to capitalize on some of those folks who come to town for something like the French Quarter French Quarter fest that sponsorship of some of the things there. Yet -- -- pat did this actually gets to Greg's play in both the business community has done in both of these cases. The business community pointed out the issue and then also helped us with a solution to over temple destinations you know. Was pointed out to us by the energy industry and so Chevron got on board and co sponsored and led. The development of destination Jeno what palace is talking about. Is -- technology community has gone together bomb about a dozen technology companies led by G capital. And there are going to be sponsoring the main stage at French Quarter fast so it's effectively recruiting event could 600000 people come through French Quarter fest. Some of them will be potentially open to a new job and they will see at the main stage information and entertainment around opportunities avail. Here in New Orleans and what you're really saying is -- that you can live here in and have a wonderful job here and it doesn't have to be number and -- not that we don't -- -- -- Everyone stay with -- we're gonna continue a very important discussion. About jobs so stay with -- or give us a call 2601870. And Angela under the Honeywell. We're back now talking about John the very good news that business is coming here. Thousands would you say tens of thousands of new jobs. Soon actually now and in the next you're looking at five or ten years. Now we're looking at the need for that skilled labor force and joining us for the discussion is Michael -- to his head of G you know inked. Patricia look blonde who was that not brand new president of Giannone and Greg Russa bitch I just -- stepped down to give pat. That wonderful job that is also very much with the business council. So we're talking about here's the good news and now we've got this bump in the road that we've got to really. Quickly address and so how're we doing it how are we going to educate the workforce for the jobs that are needed. It's interesting. You've come to realize that the challenges not just about increasing the capacity else TCS schools and it's not just about. Putting in dual enrollment programs for high school kids. One of the other issues is that we have to actually rebrand. The idea of going and getting a technical or craft chop that's gonna give you 70000 dollars a full benefits after an associates degree were beginning to understand is that. There is a generation or generations that have been brought up to believe that only going to before your school. Is a path to huge success and the reality is that. We have are gonna tens of thousands of jobs that are going to be a path to the middle class that are gonna require & Associates degree. And for many many students this is going to be the right -- -- this is about half and people understand that depending on skills. On they're going to be some opportunism might be a two year paths might have for your path sometimes to. And then a four year were part of this is actually an internal sales job as much as it is about reinforce our workforce apparatus. So is there going into public schools and saying you know what -- here's a beautiful future. And this is what you need to do one. I certainly think a big piece -- that is at least -- -- purposes is partnerships with them the education community and and frankly that's. That's one of the things that we work really hard on developing good partnerships. Not only with. That the high school community but with the the education community on the training side whether it be down got. Whether the UN now. But knowing that you know we can have a meaningful dialogue and connect to those folks with industry so that everyone is kind of on gets to be on the same page. And what Michael's obviously referring to is is kind of making making it clear and making sure that young people and educators get the message of you know where appointees to to get the training now keep it as jobs and that's one that's one of the things that we facilitate. You know I'm not telling you anything you all don't know but. We have had I've called it. Courses it is sort of the rape of higher education the -- straight for awhile and now all of the sudden. And we thing I've interviewed the college presidents and the Fed to cut programs have had to cut staff. And it's very very sad to see and yet now were saying no no we need to have these programs we need to have -- we kind of reversing. That. I'm -- kick it over to Greg can talk about an issue that we're doing on them to vote against it my business platform we're addressing the fiscal and flexibility in our constitution. One image we're talking about here I think some of it is budget related -- there's simply less pressure on the budget. There is also -- think more recognition. That. Thought that the -- read this spin off of wouldn't. Outburst I think by the business community and by statewide leadership that Haaretz has to have more -- arguments. It's really been demolished in the past decade. And a lot of that is because the way the budget is set off in Louisiana so much of the budget is constitutionally protected. So whoever the governor is only has a certain percentage of the budget to go after that Dietz because so much of has been constitutionally protected only certain moments can be a sought after. So we've been probing ways to change that. Down the law and I think part of what we don't his reach out to lobby blueprint. Porous and all the business groups to say coming up next gubernatorial election and legislative sessions. We need an overall plan we need a plan to -- car -- we need to plan for workforce development so not only do we do -- regionally. What were also doing its state walk to build a plan that will take us through get a give us a strong -- around. Component and making sure that we have planned it to have the whole budget. That can be reviewed and not just part of portrait so it's literally changing laws you're talking we may have to literally change lost because right now seminary percent of -- off pretty much off elements. I mean there -- ways to get around it but for the most part much of that bush -- is off limits the governor cannot just go in and cut whatever he wants now you can get some detail on. He could say -- call the 5% of different programs but he doesn't have the full forty as. The federal government dogs to go after different parts of the barges that -- -- -- -- Think this has been this didn't happen to two years ago -- happening right and it really needs. I'm preaching to the choir but it needs to be addressed because it is what's happened to higher -- is unconscionable. And now especially when we have this great news and we need these. These these programs. And as you look around the country at any at any place that's done well over time to -- please let's turn itself around. Like the Carolinas with Research Triangle. Like Florida like Texas they have excellent public institutions of higher learning it's kind of a prerequisite so. When you're investing in these institutes of higher learning of the two year and a four year schools. You're building a workforce also following a proven strategy and probably an essential strategy towards making the stay strong for the long term. Now on one encouraging -- -- thinking on those terms and and if it takes that changing the laws and that's what we have to do Jack and absolutely that's what we have to do. We'll take another quick break we'll go to the newsroom now and John names but stay with this and give any. Questions or any thoughts and David you are we'll give you called right after a public catcher called on activists Don. We're talking with business leaders from -- you know -- the business council about the very good news that many many jobs are headed this way. Good jobs that will pay as Michael Hecht said 70000 dollars with benefits. And and yet we still have to face how are we going to get these skilled workers how are we going to. Create the skills for our own people and how do we encourage others to move here. We have a caller David David are your thoughts. There's. I wonder if you -- -- joke. Know what the average graduation rates. Are colleges in the state of recent what percentage. Of children in college. Graduate. And what happens you master. That's wonderful questioned Michael yet on -- thanks David arm I don't know those tax offhand but I do know that our graduation rates in general are lower. Then are comparable states for the southern regional average at both the two year -- level. But one thing I would say in packages as my wife teaches -- -- -- us like it here full of it. Every night is that you've got to be careful about it graduation rates are too that placement rates and what you said while comes after is more important on so. Is somebody who goes to newness and -- in -- -- assertions it's a success and so we don't have the stats on the placement but I think that's much more important way to measure. How effective are troopers schools -- are being well. ID to -- the graduation rate and reduced 15%. And I'm an industrial psychologist. And much until you can or somebody right now. Which 100 companies to represent that change start try to. We are certain trying and if you don't include. Business and industry. And your curriculum. You're gonna wipe out whatever apart we -- can -- aren't getting. Our economy going. Because they don't particularly acute or 7000. Dollar year struggle that certain trying in training council an industry. We -- First day of week we completely agree and which is why we're working very closely that the different -- certainly here and awards and in the region or working with. Local businesses and local businesses what we say -- really understand the importance of this. And the major oil companies the major employers now have a job fairs there reaching out there looking to do everything possible to get the world two are two individuals. And to kids and students that that these jobs exist and can exist and you're actually write the business community is a critical partner here. The business community gets it and now we're really working on a plan to put this in effect get the word out get training dawn. Boring and individuals that want the training -- -- as skilled labor get on this trip certifications they need and get him employed that's the exact priorities you just articulate. And. I'll go to -- -- thank you our what's going to be my turn this page should shut outs. In the industry and in the education -- -- -- book tour. Thank thank very much you the call. Just just to clarify. In other words company a comes in and says we're gonna hire 3000 people and they need this criteria of training. Then you go to the schools and say can you set up programs to train or does the company train. Well I think it's it's a combination of and to play the companies are working with the universities and both the two year programs and for your programs there's a nice -- of coalition building their nice coalition now building amongst businesses. Amongst the community colleges and monks are -- at colleges to to have taper their programs to to put their programs in the position. And conditioned to serve the kind of neat that we have as a community is one thing that's not -- historically. Is which had these separate these to these saw parish programs and our universities but they have not been dedicated to filling employment. So now we're trying to get those programs both in the two years and four years and working together to where they can have programs that specifically fill the needs of the business community. The business community working with those college institutions to a four years or actually crucial that's happening. Let me just follow up a little bit on what the collar was talking about and he he was actually I think focusing more on opportunities available for. High school graduates one that he specifically Matt mentioned on him. You know coming out of high school technical jobs that would be available with training from industry. But -- but I think we do need to be cognizant of the fact that we are in a much different place today with our high school graduate population as a result. Of doing some things the right way in education reform. That that kind of graduate today from. Louisiana high schools. Has. Has -- Eager. Bigger set of opportunities as a result of reforms that -- -- in K through twelve. And and that a lot of people to get credit for for that pretournament in the last ten yes on -- absolutely I mean you talk about I mean I. You know I think one of the biggest economic development problems that this state had and certainly this region had. Was a relatively poor quality of public education K through twelve. We each was a huge problem -- for economic development and and certainly firm for all of those students. That has changed and it's changed dramatically as a result of reforms you know and a lot of hard work by a lot of good folks. Including the business community you know but just a. On that subject I -- on any number of programs concerning employment not just this -- and one of the issues that keeps coming up. Among employers are the soft skills. It's -- how do you -- who work ethic how do you teach coming to work on time and those kinds of things. And how do we. Final all of those important issues into what you're trying to do. -- and one of the things were looking at now along this is we we are already doing -- -- -- programs for example -- 800 high school kids from Jefferson. At a meeting -- -- talking to companies like shell like turner and learning about what happens if they go on to -- associates to -- but now our actually. Export apprenticeship programs of course by UT taking high school students actually placing them in the workplace but he can get not only the -- skills also pattern. And get those soft skills and just to be very clear about this. We think make this connection between business and education is so important actually created a position. Called the educational is on -- individual -- all she does every day is make the connection between. There's this community and academic community to make sure we have to venture cricket -- that is tremendous news. Everyone stay with -- we're gonna continue this conversation I'm Angela under the -- well we are talking about the very good news in our community that businesses that want to hear. Who's who they are expanding here. And down but we're looking for work force but another element that we need to talk about his. We need to see ourselves as a rigorous and it says as the global community we talk. And we are we just don't bring fabulous tourists from all over the world here who love us. But we have business here that is international and it's becoming more dependent on learning from our need for more international flights. Yet thank you Angela it's just I think to our business community and and then -- and our tourism community actually inexcusable that someone has to get on the polling in New Orleans to go to Houston Dallas lineup. To go to Europe in the UK that is just unacceptable we shouldn't have to do what we have for over nine million visitors visiting the city on a yearly basis. By the way 80000 of those -- British citizens coming into the -- -- on an annual basis. And we have our business now got a booming petrochemical court or we provide a quarter of the all were all of the nation's energy are reserved. We have so much going force right here and in the region right now. To have to be traveling all the places to get on a flight to Europe it's just an excuse we -- global city it's with them we've always been about an international trade of global outset of of values and a global culture. And so we've got ahead of international flights direct flights to Europe it will be game trip to we will get direct flights to Europe this will be game changing you will see in the future. Are -- British general funds or Air France flights coming in and take off from Armstrong international. And you will should not have to also be going to Miami go to south and Central America so we'll also have flights going into south and Central America that's the vision that we see with if the called the aviation board. Steve parry the CV BG and a wink we see on Armstrong international match truly international. Global flights landing and taking off on global businesses being built. Tourism -- to support the cruise industry here supporting the all the Gulf Coast coming in from the Gulf Coast -- as well we've got Mississippi Alabama Florida engaged. With the state of Louisiana engaged. Gee you know wake has received almost a hundred letters from local businesses ready to support these European flights. Well we're we've built -- foundation we're ready to beat that global flight home when you talk to these airline companies around the world. What did they say mainly. Well they want a -- better degree of confidence. That the business that the business cases developed. We eat the CVB if you speak to CVB and more Roman again at the Lawrence tourism marketing -- they're fully confident with fully confident hospitality community that will fill back -- the -- People want people to come -- won't we won't fill the back of the planes from Europe from South America wherever they come for. What we have to do is keep building the business case of their concern frankly when we talked to airlines and actually can you -- the front of the points on business class seats. And that's working on not think what the answer is yes Michael just god you know led the effort to get -- hundred. The letters from local businesses. It's also the region he can't just think warns of the central -- -- we have to think regionally and through the state we have a catchment area about think about 5000004 and a half million catchment area when you look at the Baton Rouge and once or reach. And now the Gulf Coast Israelis support is fully so wouldn't put all this together so it's nice case to be made. And sometimes they're not the international airlines are not thinking about using -- wall in sending individuals in here and launched. To use the Pensacola beaches to use the gulf shore beaches to use the cruise industry. And then also to comment for business purposes so we're making the case indications -- have been made we just have to think big. And I love to think things through the the the analog here is just getting the super ball. Part of the reason Monica at the Super Bowl is that we have the right bones forthright structure of the art history but a big part of it. As he put together the right team and me the right presentation with the right style and the right data the -- stake in the right sizzle. For the first time were actually presenting the airport that way. With the right team with the right data presented in the right style and this is airlines and folks we talked to confidence and quite frankly don't have that confidence. For a few decades but. Now they do and it's going to lead to good things. Well as mr. -- said it will be a relatively short period of time when we have that new terminal. And that is going to make a big difference I didn't understand until he really explained it. About how costly it is to run what we have and how ultimately a new terminal is gonna save us money and that's gonna make that it's the flights. Cheaper. Because the more airlines wanna commend it just makes so much sense I think that's the word I'm trying to. What do we take our caller -- she had hang up that's okay. You you all as I have seven commercial have uplifted. You really have a people need to hear this that time. It was shooter -- in the foot sometimes in this community when in fact we do so many things not just correctly but beautifully. And one I'm really hearing is this business community is together. I'll absolutely. I can tea I mean I've been active in. And various different businesses civic organizations for 35 years in this community and I have never. Never felt more optimistic we -- we are at our brightest moment I really do believe that in terms of and one of the secrets frankly was. Well as of regional effort to improve regional effort and it and let's give credit where credit's due and and I have to say I think Michael Hecht has had. A lot to do. With building that kind of a regional coalition where. Every one everyone is excited and is looking forward to that to the next the next big wind. Frankly. And looking forward to that just. Better opportunities. Different for this area so it's in it's exciting last the last several years have just been. We we we all came through allot after Katrina. And frankly I think we're stronger for we're stronger and better. And we're better partners. With each other as a result of of that whole experience and so it's it's it's it's pretty cool it's just not fun. Stay with us we'll be right back. It was beautifully that. Well I'm feeling a lot better having had Michael Hecht and the tritium LeBlanc Michael of course is the president of G and a wink and down. Patricia is the new chairman of the board and Greg -- bitch. Just has been. Such I have a gift I think to the business community for a very long time but you're making me feel better. About what's happening in the city and I have felt better for a long time. But that it's even more snowball kind of take us back to that we're just. One win leads to another win this is an exciting time on the B -- knew going in I don't think we've ever had this air of confidence about us. And where we're thinking big and really we've got the hot hand -- knocking out of the park and we keep doing so the hornets business counts were matching -- -- break. When the business community stepped off and kept the hornets here by meeting the benchmark with that led to was the thought Benson family. Barring the hornets what that led to was NBA All Star Games huge economic impact what that led to was then on -- will smoothie king making the smooth the -- marine. One win builds on another win builds on another win and we're just seeing in the -- right now on the region that success breeds success. And we're keeping the pedal to the metal. And we keep seeing success after success and we work that's a wonderful team effort going on right now coalition to being built regional listens torturing. And which is probably a part of its forum it's fun. And cheering here in my seat it's a great I can't thank you -- enough for what you do but also for coming here. And keeping us up today and want to follow ups on the workforce but so stay with -- but again thank you for all you do. And you'll stay with us we're gonna take a break for the news but we're gonna come back tomorrow gonna talk a completely different subject about crime and activists.