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|Monroe council okays $100,000 for job training|
The Monroe City Council approved giving $100,000 to the NOVA Workforce Institute for its ongoing job training initiatives.
It was a move that Mayor Jamie Mayo and several city councilmen expressed pride in at the council's regular meeting Tuesday night.
NOVA stands for New Opportunities Vision and Achievement. The organization provides workforce development for low-skill and low-wage workers to give them better training for higher paying jobs.
NOVA has partnerships with various entities, including the city of Monroe, Ouachita Parish Police Jury, Ouachita Workforce Investment Board, Louisiana Delta Community College and Louisiana Technical College.
The Workforce Investment Board has already committed $280,000 for NOVA's project. The first NOVA classes should take place in fall 2008.
The group was formed by dozens of local church groups of different faiths to find ways to limit the "skills gap between jobs that exist and the available pool of workers to fill them," according to NOVA board president Eva Dyann Wilson.
"We think this is one of the best investments that this council could have made from an economic development standpoint. NOVA is a win-win for our community and our parish and for northeast Louisiana. It's a major effort to upgrade the quality of skills that potential employees will have," Wilson said.
NOVA officials will report to the city council's finance committee on a regular basis to update it on NOVA's progress within the community, Wilson said.
City council chairman Robert "Red" Stevens said, "As this city goes forward in the future, this organization is a prime example of what we're talking about (for it to succeed). This is a group of individuals concerned about the welfare, conditions and betterment of not only the city and the neighborhoods, but the people in those neighborhoods. I'm proud to support this ordinance. I think it sends out a good message because it's a diverse group. Nobody can say we're giving this to the north side or the south side."
Councilman Jay Marx agreed, adding that the NOVA board and its interfaith leaders are a good representation of the entire city.
Mayo made the commitment of providing $100,000 from the city's administrative economic development fund to NOVA months ago. The matter had to be approved by the council.
"There's many signs of progress in our city," Mayo said. "We can point all over the city and see that. This is certainly one of them. I look forward to the things NOVA is doing to continue to make our city and our community stronger."