We work hard to make sure our communities can too.

New Orleans Workforce Innovations

We help vulnerable employees stay and thrive in the workplace through on-site personal coaching and resource navigation. New Orleans Workforce Innovations provides one-on-one support services to employees of member companies with the goal of ensuring that employees have what they need to come to work and to focus on being successful in the workplace and within their personal lives. We are also a member of the nationwide post hire support network, Work Lab Innovations.

New Orleans Works (NOW)

The New Orleans Works collaborative was launched in 2011 as one of 35 local workforce collaborative sites of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS). NOW brings together public, private, and philanthropic organizations to target financial resources to the needs of jobseekers, incumbent workers, and employers in high growth, high turnover, industry-specific sectors. NOW creates partnerships with employers, builds capacity, and fosters public policy, advocacy to create robust and long-lived relationships among employers, workers, education and training/service providers to enhance a cohesive pipeline to front-line jobs and career ladders.

New Orleans’ unemployment rate is a modest 4.8%. However, this official statistic does not accurately capture the large number of individuals over the age of 16 who are not participating in the labor market. In New Orleans, it is estimated that as many as 40% of black men do not participate in the labor force. While the reasons for this are complex, provided the right training and employment opportunities, many of these individuals would contribute to the productivity of both the companies that employ them and the community at large.

NOW is committed to more than just filling jobs. Its goal is to create an environment with opportunities for higher wages, better benefits, and career advancement for the region’s workforce. NOW’s goals are to:

  • Help unemployed and underemployed individuals attain family-supporting jobs
  • Identify and address the shared needs of employers with proven program models so they and their employees can be more efficient, productive and competitive
  • Increase the capacity and resources available for education and training services to develop skills an build careers to meet employer requirements
  • Align with the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans’ workforce development programs to connect workforce development to education and economic devwelopment in a cohesive and seamless system

History of New Orleans Works (NOW)

The NOW Collaborative is housed at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Current and historical collaborative members include Capital One Foundation, the City of New Orleans, Entergy, Ford Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the New Orleans Business Alliance, Prudential Foundation, Surdna Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Urban Strategies, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Collaborative began convening in 2011 and launched its first workforce partnership in 2013, deciding to focus on employers in the healthcare sector given the tremendous growth in this area in recent years.

Since its inception, NOW has provided over $1,000,000 in planning and implementation grants to four employers: Ochsner Health System, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System, Daughters of Charity, and LCMC Health. Collectively, these partnerships have trained almost 500 jobseekers and incumbent workers for the healthcare industry. NOW has also facilitated the career advancement of more than 400 Medical Assistants at Ochsner Health System who received a wage increase of between 50 cents to $2.25 per hour as well as facilitated systems change within organizations (including the development of a workforce development department at Ochsner) and employer contributions to support programs for entry level staff like the Hudson Thomas Initiative at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System.

“The New Orleans Works Initiative is a win-win for our company and employees.”
Chad Courrege, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, LCMC Health

Post-hire Support

We understand that every person shows up to their job with a different background, experience, and current set of circumstances. We all struggle with barriers that interfere with getting to work, staying engaged, and remaining productive. Whether it is transportation, housing, or financial issues, our strengths and barriers can either enable us or hold us back in reaching our full potential on the job. We believe all employees have the potential to be of great value to our community and economy, but not all people are equally supported to do so. Our onsite post-hire support offers services to all employees who may need it, with particular experience supporting young, front line and middle skilled New Orleanian workers.

Workforce Sustainability & Employer Benefits

As an employer with competing priorities and an already full plate, you don’t always have the time and resources to ensure your workforce is thriving. Add in the high cost of housing and lack of affordable childcare options, and your employees may need additional support so they can show up and be engaged while at work. That’s where we come in. New Orleans Workforce Innovation services become part of an employer’s benefits package. By helping workers address a range of life issues and challenges, we minimize work disruptions, decrease absenteeism, improve workers’ financial stability, and ultimately increase employee retention and engagement.


Navigators offer confidential assistance, connect employees with services and community resources, assist with customized planning for work and life stability, and provide career and financial coaching. Navigators are on-site and available for as long as an employee needs or desires assistance.

Offer one-on-one, confidential assistance to all employees of member companies with a focus on frontline and entry-level employees.

  • Connect employees with individualized services and community resources to overcome work and life issues that prevent them from holding and keeping jobs
  • Meet employees at their convenience, including open office hours at scheduled worksite visits
  • Assist employees with customized planning for work and life stability by connecting them to resources for housing, transportation, food assistance, child care, and career and financial coaching as well as mental and behavioral health services
  • Work in partnership with an employer’s Employee Assistance Program and workplace benefits when available

Navigator Areas of Support

Navigator brings resources in-house and provides access to:

  • Child Care
  • Elder Care
  • Transportation
  • Communication
  • Career Coaching
  • Mental Health
  • Budgeting
  • Housing
  • Relationships
  • Healthcare

Want to know more?

To learn more about our workforce initiatives, get in touch with Lauren N. King.