Wednesday, 15 July 2015 17:55

La. Biz News: Aspen Institute, BRAC and no Louisiana city as worst to drive

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BATON-ROUGE-SKYLouisina business shorts news for today:

Aspen Institute's economic development initiative, BRAC workforce and best/worst US city to drive


 The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Aspen Institute today announced the selection of seven regional site teams, comprised of leaders in industry, government, education, and workforce and economic development, to participate in theCommunities that Work Partnership.

The Communities that Work Partnership (CTW Partnership) is an effort to strengthen regional economies by equipping American workers with the skills needed for 21st century jobs and accelerating industry-led workforce development and training efforts. 
The seven regional site teams, or regional partnerships, will begin a 15-month intensive accelerated learning exchange designed around each region’s pursuit of job-driven talent development strategies to promote economic growth. AspenWSI and FutureWorks Consulting will facilitate the in-person and virtual learning exchanges and provide customized technical assistance by engaging national experts in economic, workforce, and talent development.  The effort is being funded through a $500,000 grant, which was awarded by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the first time.
“The Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps to bring together businesses, educational institutions, workforce and economic development organizations, local governments, as well as non-profits to prepare workers for in-demand jobs,” said Secretary Pritzker. “As part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Skills for Business’ initiative, our partnership with Aspen will support worker training that meets businesses’ and workers’ needs and keeps America competitive.”
The seven regional site teams selected to participate in the Communities that Work Partnership, by Lead Agency, are: 

$1·Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Technology Council, Cox Communications, Western Alliance Bank (Greater Phoenix area)

$1·Bay Area Video Coalition, City and County of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, CBS Corporation, Work2Future/Silicon Valley/San Jose Workforce Investment Board (San Francisco area)

$1·Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Erie County Executive Office, National Grid (Buffalo-Niagara Falls area)

$1·Greater Houston Partnership, San Jacinto College, United Way of Greater Houston, Gulf Coast Workforce Solutions (Greater Houston area)

$1·Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, Anacostia River Initiative/Federal City Council Anacostia Waterfront Trust (Greater Washington, DC, area)

$1·National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Employment Law Project, Hand in Hand (New York City)

$1·Northwest Georgia Regional Workforce Partnership, J+J Flooring Group, Technical College System of Georgia, Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce (Northwest Georgia)

The CTW Partnership will culminate in a number of publications outlining systems-change progress and lessons learned among the seven regional site teams, which will be disseminated nationally in the fall of 2016. They will describe how networks of local leaders can work in new ways across traditional silos to build more effective regional workforce initiatives, and begin to influence and guide similar strategies in other communities across America.
The CTW Partnership was launched in April 2015 at an event at the Aspen Institute that featured Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson in a dialogue over the need to learn from successful regional job-driven workforce development efforts to inform practices in other communities around the United States.
Further Online Information
More information about the Communities that Work Partnership may be found at AspenWSI’s website. Visit:
The Communities that Work Partnership is made possible by the generous support of the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the US Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for US workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
TheWorkforce Strategies Initiative(AspenWSI) is one of three ongoing initiatives in the Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) at the Aspen Institute, along with Skills for America’s Future and FIELD. AspenWSI works to identify, evaluate, and promote promising and successful practices and policies that improve access to quality training and employment for low-income adults.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has o


 Baton Rouge Area students and teachers completed a Regional Workplace Experience Exchange through which they gained real-world work experience at participating businesses. Made possible by a grant provided by the Louisiana Department of Education and administered by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), the program focuses on career awareness, exploration, recruitment and outreach, and workplace experiences that allow students and teachers to explore career opportunities that lead to high growth, high wage jobs in high demand sectors. The North Capital Region Jump Start Team comprises theschool districts of East Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, and Zachary.

“BRAC is uniquely qualified to bring together business and industry and the education community to proactively address regional workforce supply and demand,” said Liz Smith, director of policy and research at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Collectively, we’re working to ensure that stakeholders understand available jobs by industry, as well as the requisite skills for success.”

The program provided practical work experience through (1) career awareness and recruiting/information sessions, (2) field trips and tours, and (3) teacher externships.

Career awareness and recruiting/information sessions for students:

The grant focused on career awareness and recruitment in demand industry sectors of health care, industrial construction, and STEM/Process Technology. The information sessions featured guest speakers from Turner Industries, Exxon Mobil, and Acadian Ambulance. Through these sessions, students and teachers had the opportunity to learn about workplace experiences and hear realistic views of high wage, high growth careers in demand industry sectors. The information sessions featured workers who provided personal accounts of everyday life in their chosen careers. Workers emphasized lifestyle and educational requirements and basic skill sets necessary for employment – commonly referred to as “soft” skills.

Field trips and tours:

Student workplace experiences included field trips and tours of business and training facilities to provide a visual, hands-on point of reference of specific careers, technical skills, and the included industries.

Teacher externships:

Selected by school principals, participating teachers pursued professional development opportunities connecting the classroom to the workplace. The externships, which culminated in two days of collaborative lesson planning, enabled teachers to learn through direct experience about trends, skill requirements, and opportunities in industries related to their subjects to allow them to strengthen their teaching and classroom experience and provide relevance to students. Through this experiential learning, teachers are now able to introduce broader career pathways to their students. The externship curriculum was based on a best practice model by University of California,Berkeley.

Participating employers included:

  • ABC Pelican Chapter
  • MMR Training Center
  • Pennington Biomedical Research Center
  • ExxonMobil
  • Performance Contractors
  • Acadian Ambulance
  • Turner Industries
  • Jacobs Engineering
  • BASF
  • Zachry Industrial
  • Dow Chemical

As a result of the program, Acadian Ambulance is establishing an emergency medical technician curriculum at Zachary High School. Additionally, the company is offering clinical rotations for Baton Rouge Area teachers.

“The Regional Workplace Externship was a great opportunity for us to provide industrial construction insight to the actual instructors so they can better develop the workforce of the next generation,” said Joel Thames, corporate training manager at Performance Contractors. “We find tremendous value in hiring recent high school and technical college graduates to satisfy workforce demand. From our perspective, the experience was a huge success.”

Sixteen teachers participated in an externship. An art teacher developed a cross-curricular lesson plan entitled “Five Minutes to your Future” for teaching career pathways in manufacturing and soft skills needed for success in an industrial setting, based on practical experience at Zachry Industrial. A team of teachers, including a financial math teacher, an agriculture teacher, and a basketball coach created a five-day lesson plan that begins with the importance of effective and clear communication, covers teamwork and professional appearance, and culminates in guest speakers discussing safety and technical skills, based on their experience at BASF.

“At first, our operators were reserved in talking with the teachers. As they began talking about their specific tasks and responsibilities and realized the teachers were genuinely interested in learning from them, they warmed up quickly,” said Laurie Stumpe, Zachary Site Director, BASF Corporation. “It was personally satisfying for me that our team was able to share our collective manufacturing knowledge and I appreciated the engagement from operators who best know the technical and teamwork skills necessary for success in their roles.”

This work supports BRAC’s Strategic Plan for Cultivating a STEM Workforce in the Capital Region, published in December 2014. The plan is accessible

The Tim Johnson Consulting Group coordinated the effort, working with BRAC, participating school districts, and business and industry.

Students complete a customized selection of courses from a Jump Start graduation pathway and earn industry-valued credentials. Jump Start students graduate capable of attaining high-value, entry-level employment and continuing their education.



It might be hard to believe but no Louisiana  city is listed as  a worst city to be a driver. does not  is not the home to the city to be a driver.  Here is the ranking according to WallHub:

With gas prices tending to peak during summer and Americans collectively spending about $124 billion in wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestion, the leading personal finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at2015's Best & Worst Cities to Be a Driver.

To find the most driver-friendly locations in the U.S., WalletHub compared the 100 most populated cities across 21 key metrics. Our data set includes such metrics as average gas prices, average annual traffic delays, rates of car theft and car clubs per capita.


Best Cities to Be a Driver


Worst Cities to Be a Driver



Lubbock, TX



Los Angeles, CA



Corpus Christi, TX



Baltimore, MD



Lincoln, NE



Chicago, IL



Greensboro, NC



Boston, MA



Tucson, AZ



Newark, NJ



Reno, NV



Detroit, MI



Durham, NC



San Francisco, CA



Colorado Springs, CO



Philadelphia, PA



Winston-Salem, NC



Washington, DC



Raleigh, NC



New York, NY

Key Stats

$1·The average annual hours of traffic delays are six times higher in Washington than in Bakersfield, Calif.

$1·The rate of car thefts is 27 times higher in Detroit than in Irvine, Calif.

$1·The number of auto repair shops per 100,000 residentsis 12 times higher in Orlando, Fla than in Boston.

$1·The average gas pricein Los Angeles is twice as high as those in Tucson, Ariz.

$1·The average parking rate is 14 times more expensive in New York than in Greensboro, N.C.

For the full report and to see where your city ranks, please visit:

Media Sources

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