Empowering the Future

It’s vital for our technology industry that we recruit Louisiana’s underprivileged youth.

As a director with Ochsner Health and a STEM nonprofit leader as board president of NorthShore Robotics, I oversee hiring entry-level IT professionals at Ochsner Health. This experience has taught me the critical importance of recruiting and empowering underprivileged youth in the tech industry.

With NorthShore Robotics, I work with a team that brings STEM education and life skills to the greater New Orleans region. Louisiana’s unique educational landscape presents both challenges and opportunities in bridging the opportunity gap for these young individuals. In my work I emphasize the significant benefits of involving underprivileged youth in the tech sector, highlighting the importance of breaking the cycle of inequality, closing the digital divide, fostering diversity and driving economic growth in our region.

The Cycle of Inequality: In Louisiana, educational challenges contribute to disparities among these young people, limiting access to quality education and hindering professional opportunities. This is especially evident for employers in South Louisiana when educating, recruiting and supporting these youth in the technology industry. Both my teams actively work toward breaking the cycle of inequality.

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At NorthShore Robotics, we recognize the potential of young people to thrive in the IT field, providing a pathway for social mobility. By investing in their education, training and professional development, we create a more inclusive society where talent and merit determine success, rather than socioeconomic background. My team at Ochsner Health works with internal recruiters and organizations like the RootedSchool to identify underprivileged youth, ensuring job opportunities are known and available to everyone in the region.

Digital Divide: The digital divide is particularly pronounced in Louisiana, where underserved communities face limited access to broadband internet and technology resources. When our recruitment, mentorship and training of these young people provides them with the necessary support and resources, we contribute to closing the digital divide. At NorthShore Robotics, we are committed to partnering with our allied sponsors like T-Mobile, Walmart.org and Ochsner Health’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, along with our local officials to improve and expand access to technology. Equipping youth with the tools and the skills needed to thrive in the digital age, we empower them to overcome barriers and ensure equal opportunities for all.

Diversity and Inclusion: As a leader responsible for hiring entry-level IT professionals, I understand the value of diverse perspectives and inclusive teams. Actively recruiting professionals from diverse communities and educating underprivileged youth, we bring their unique experiences, backgrounds and perspectives into the technology industry.

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Within Ochsner Health, we recognize the power of diversity to drive innovation. By fostering an inclusive work environment, we create opportunities for everyone to contribute to the organization’s success and positively impact patient care and health outcomes. At NorthShore Robotics we are building the future of our tech industry by expanding access to quality education related to the jobs of the future. Ochsner Health D&I leaders and NorthShore Robotics have even partnered to ensure we are reaching areas of the population that do not have access to STEM education programs.

Driving Economic Growth: Recruiting diverse and underprivileged youth in tech not only empowers individuals but also uplifts communities and fuels economic growth. By hiring young professionals at Ochsner Health, we contribute to Louisiana’s socioeconomic development. The skills and knowledge they bring to the organization have a ripple effect, expanding our recruiting market, and stimulating the local economy. NorthShore Robotics investment in young people multiplies the future prosperity and stability of both individuals and the community at large.

Recruiting and serving youth in the tech industry is crucial for both societal progress and organizational success. By breaking the cycle of inequality, closing the digital divide, fostering diversity and inclusion, and driving economic growth, we create a more equitable and innovative future. As a leader in this industry, I am committed to working toward a future where all youth in Louisiana have equal opportunities to thrive in the tech industry. Let us join forces, gear kids up for success, unlock their potential and shape a better future for Louisiana.

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Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in the article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Ochsner Health or NorthShore Robotics.

David Shapiro is a director with Ochsner Health and board president of NorthShore Robotics. He may be reached via email at BoardPresident@NorthshoreRobotics.org.


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