3 Ways Workforce Development Builds a Better SWLA

The Community Foundation is about connecting people who care with causes that matter. A priority cause in our region is workforce development. Over the past year, SWLA has been preparing for the Big Boom. As billions of dollars in industrial expansion and development commence, more skilled workers will be needed. Through generous donations, the Community Foundation is taking the initiative to help train area residents for these industry related jobs.

The Workforce Development Scholarship Program was created by Sasol, and managed by the Community Foundation, to provide financial support to those who are interested in pursuing careers that support industry in the region. The goal of the program is to help unemployed and underemployed residents receive the training they need to take part in the economic growth. This is a win/win for our citizens and employers.

Here's a few ways the Workforce Development Scholarship builds a better SWLA:

1. Scholarships Provide Tuition for Crafts and Skills Training

The funding donated from industry sponsors (currently Lake Charles LNG and Sasol) provides scholarships for crafts and skills training. The process is designed and managed by the Community Foundation. The scholarships are awarded to applicants who meet the criteria, pass a drug screen and complete a Workforce Readiness Course. They then begin their journey to become certified in various jobs like welding or pipefitting. 

2. Strengthens relationships within SWLA

A committee selects scholarship recipients who are paired with a mentor they have chosen to act as a personal coach along the way. The mentors and career counselors help the student get prepared for their training and identify any barriers they may have. The career counselors may then connect the students with resources they may need such as tutoring, healthcare, childcare, or transportation. Mentors, educators, and counselors work as a team to assist each student along their journey. 

2. Enhances Life Individually and for the Community

Students have the opportunity to thrive with their newly acquired training and support from a variety of resources. The community gains a citizen that has the opportunity to earn a living wage for his or her family and be an active member of the community. The student may also have a new friend in their mentor. Anyone may volunteer to be matched as a mentor as long as they have life skills to share with the student and complete a free mentor training program. This is offered at least monthly by the Calcasieu Parish Library.

Applications for student scholarships and mentors are available HERE. The Workforce Scholarship Program is another example of the Community Foundation building a better SWLA by connecting people who care with causes that matter.