Monday, 12 June 2017 13:58

Louisiana Biz: Trump's Apprenticeship, Blue Cross CMO; Commissioner Strain, Volunteer

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ivanka TNews for today: Trump's apprenticeship, you're hired; Blue Cross, Chief Medical Office; Strain goes to White House; Volunteer Louisiana


Donald Trump today, through his Labor Secretary Acosta, discussed the apprenticeship program the administration is discussing that could spur economic growth among those seeking training and application of services.  



Dr. Vindell Washington has joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana as chief medical officer. He brings to the state’s largest health insurer extensive experience in leading clinical teams and in health IT, most recently as the national coordinator for healthcare information technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Prior to that, Washington was at the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Baton Rouge for more than seven years, leaving as president of the medical group, which includes more than 500 medical providers and 1,400 employees. While at the health system, he also served as vice president of performance excellence and technology and chief medical information officer.

Washington is a board-certified emergency medicine physician. Before coming to Baton Rouge, he served as chief executive officer of Piedmont Emergency Medicine Associates, a large private group in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He received his undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University and his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He also received a Master of Science degree in healthcare management from the Harvard School of Public Health.


Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said it was a tremendous honor to represent the nation’s agricultural producers at a meeting Thursday, June 8 with White House officials including President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

“We discussed infrastructure challenges and what it means to the rural community. While we are an economic super power, our infrastructure must keep up. Improving infrastructure improves commerce, the economy and it moves America forward,” said Strain.

Strain said infrastructure topics included: reducing permitting time to move projects along more quickly; increasing infrastructure spending while restoring accountability in how infrastructure funds are spent; and allowing state and local governments more flexibility to develop infrastructure free from federal impediment.

Strain also led the discussion on the need to invest in mechanisms to bring products to market such as waterways, railroads and highways. “Our inland waterways and ports are an essential lifeline which move eighty-five percent of grains destined for the global marketplace. We must work cooperatively to improve our dilapidated waterways system which is failing our food producers. Congress must prioritize funding for these critical infrastructure projects.”

Strain and White House officials also discussed the need for inter-connectivity in rural America so everyone has better access to technology.

Strain, who also serves as National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) President and South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers, Chair of NASDA’s Rural Development and Financial Security Committee, attended the White House Infrastructure Summit with numerous cabinet secretaries, governors, mayors, and other state, local, and tribal leaders.


Should investors expect the stock market surge to continue under Donald Trump’s presidency? Billionaire investor and legendary money manager Ken Fisher's firm weighs in.


Volunteer Louisiana has awarded Summer of Service grants to nine volunteer and disaster recovery projects across Louisiana. These projects will engage approximately 2,800 volunteers in five parishes in service projects focused on rebuilding and recovery from the August 2016 floods and February 2017 tornadoes. “Volunteers are absolutely essential to long-term recovery efforts,” said Executive Director Judd Jeansonne, “and these grants help create meaningful service experiences for Louisiana residents and visitors.”

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, whose office oversees Volunteer Louisiana, has high praise for volunteers. “These ongoing recovery efforts show the strength and resilience of our character. The tireless work of volunteers has been amazing, and I am proud to support their efforts.”

In New Orleans, NOLA Tree Project has been working on both flood recovery and tornado recovery. During their Summer of Service, NOLA Tree Project plans to recruit over 150 volunteers to continue working on four homes affected by the tornado. Robin Young, Program Director for NOLA Tree Project, explained that one of the families they are working with spent years rebuilding their home after Katrina, then the February tornado took their roof and front room. Young stated that the family “wondered if they had the strength to rebuild again.”

"NOLA Tree Project is completely volunteer driven,” said Young, in response to receiving the grant. “We harness the power of volunteers to transform lives and communities, and we are thrilled to receive funding to help us continue to do just that!”

Volunteer Louisiana was established in 1993 in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to rekindle the spirit of service and citizenship. Grant funds are provided through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Volunteer Generation Fund and administered by Volunteer Louisiana. Volunteer Louisiana also manages a portfolio of 15 AmeriCorps programs statewide that engage 1000 members in service each year.

For a complete list of all 2017 Summer of Service grant awards, or to find out how to volunteer in your community, visit


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