New Orleans Business Alliance Introduces the Inaugural Workforce Leadership Academy Participants

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Business Alliance today introduced the inaugural class for a new program designed to improve local workforce development efforts and create innovative solutions to the challenges faced by workers and businesses. Details were shared in a press release.

The program is designed for leaders already in the workforce development field. These 22 leaders joined the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy, a 12-month fellowship developed through a partnership with the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. The Academy will strengthen the local network of workforce leaders through a series of retreats and workshops that expose leaders to new tools and strategies.

Participants in the inaugural class are:

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  • Benjamin Armstrong, NextOp Inc.
  • Maurice Baird, New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development
  • Amy Barad, The Cowen Institute
  • Shantay Bolton, Tulane University
  • Sherdren Burnside, Compassion Outreach of America
  • Mai Dang, Urban Strategies Inc.
  • Alvin David, Baptist Community Industries
  • Paul Helton, Louisiana Economic Development
  • Jonathan Johnson, Rooted School
  • Cathy Juarez Alfonso, Port of New Orleans
  • Cherie LaCour-Duckworth, Urban League of Louisiana
  • Kathy Litchfield, Cafe Reconcile
  • Tiffany Netters, 504HealthNet
  • Hope Owens, LCMC Health
  • Andreas Pashos, Nunez Community College
  • Monique Pilie, Louisiana Green Corps
  • Jen Roberts, New Orleans Early Education Network
  • Bonita Robertson, Greater New Orleans Foundation
  • Amanda Rosenzweig, Delgado Community College
  • Omar Stanton, New Orleans Business Alliance
  • Deb Vivien, City of New Orleans
  • Christopher Wyre, Operation Spark

The class represents a range of nonprofit organizations, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts and public agencies.

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to work with these leaders as they continue developing their skills and expertise to transform the lives of friends and neighbors throughout the city, region and state,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., president & CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “Talent is the competitive arena for cities nationally. By working with the Aspen Institute, we connect our workforce leaders to national best practices that will ultimately lead to increased economic security for all New Orleanians.”

The New Orleans Academy is the first in the city and one of four to be launched this year through the support of JPMorgan Chase, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the New Orleans Business Alliance. The Academy is the latest in a series that has been hosted in communities across the United States and Canada.

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“Collaboration grows at the speed of trust, and today’s workforce development leaders are increasingly being asked to create solutions through collaboration. This Academy is a rare opportunity for leaders to step back with colleagues from New Orleans, reflect on their own organizational challenges, hear from leading practitioners from around the country, and develop the network and trust so essential for success,” said Sheila Maguire, senior fellow at the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and director of the local network of Workforce Leadership Academies.

The Academy culminates with a capstone project presentation event in December.


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