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Shreveport summit to bring together employers and educators to talk jobs

Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White will headline a workforce summit Tuesday, March 17, in Shreveport. The North Louisiana Economic Partnership or NLEP is putting on its first conference that will bring together educators and employers to discuss employment growth in health care, information technology and manufacturing. NLEP senior vice president Angie White says high school students aren’t aware of all their options that will lead to gainful careers, especially in blue-collar work.

“Where I’m seeing the hole right now, is there aren’t enough people going into the really important programs that our economic drivers need because there’s not anyone pointing young people in that direction,” White said.

Libby Inc. plant manager Frank Russell has 530 employees at the Shreveport plant. Almost half of his workforce has been with the glass company for more than 20 years. As baby boomers retire, Russell says, he is having difficulty filling the skilled trades positions.

“As we attract more manufacturers into the area, then we all are competing for the same labor market. That’s why I think it’s important for us to find ways to fill the pipeline up,” Russell said.

NLEP’s Angie White says Superintendent John White will talk about a career training program called Jump Start that was launched last year. It’s designed as a pipeline for high school students to land jobs that don’t require years of college-level coursework.

“With the Jump Start Career Diploma, you can be earning industry-based credentials in one of six different fields where you’re very likely to get a job when you graduate from high school or go on to continue your education,” White said.

The Top Skills Workforce Summit is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Shreveport Convention Center, 400 Caddo Street, Ballroom B. The event is open to the public. White will give the keynote luncheon address at 11:30 a.m.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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