Episode 133: Tackling Workforce Shortages with Claire Jecklin, CEO of New Orleans Career Center

In the words of this week’s guest, “New Orleans’s future workforce is not going to prepare itself.” As such, New Orleans Career Center has been working since its opening in 2018 to prepare area young people and adults for a wide variety of high-wage, high-demand local careers. The organization’s CEO, Claire Jecklin, shares how the organization is partnering with local industries and the details of NOCC’s incredible new 143,000-square-foot space.

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During her five years as principal, Jecklin turned New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School (Sci High) into one of the city’s highest-performing open enrollment schools. She not only raised test and ACT scores significantly but envisioned and executed a plan to offer Sci High students five rigorous career preparation pathways.

This success showed Jecklin it wasn’t enough to offer career and technical education (CTE) to a few students in the few schools offering it in Orleans Parish. She became a driving force in the visioning group tasked with developing an innovative CTE and workforce development solution for New Orleans’ public charter schools.

Since NOCC was first awarded its independent 501(c)3 status in 2017, Jecklin has stood at the helm. She has built the NOCC team, steered the organization from startup funding to a stable and sustainable financial model, led development of its operational capacity, and forged necessary partnerships with area schools, employers and higher education institutions.

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In less than three years, NOCC has guided more than 300 high school and adult trainees through its pathways and programs.

Jecklin chairs the Youth Committee for the City of New Orleans Workforce Development Board, serves on the City’s COVID-19 Re-Opening Task Force and on the YouthForce NOLA Community Steering Committee, and participates in the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions. A member of the national Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), she holds a master’s degree in education leadership and a bachelor’s degree in English.


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