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|West takes over new workforce group|
Paul West was named executive director of New Opportunities Vision Achievement, a new organization that will help with local workforce development efforts.
The announcement was made Tuesday at Monroe City Hall.
West previously served as CEO of Living Well Foundation. He's held that position since January. The foundation was established following the sale of Glenwood Regional Medical Center to IASIS Healthcare in 2007.
Before taking his position with Living Well Foundation, West was the director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Ouachita Parish. He also conducted mission work in Guatemala.
"I feel like today I have come full circle back home," West said. "I had a great opportunity here in the past year, but I am glad to be back in workforce development."
"I thank the people who have laid the groundwork over the past year to bring NOVA where it is today," West continued. "This is all about a concept that was birthed years ago that is becoming a reality. It is about the commitment to improve the workforce in our community."
Though the nation is in the midst of an economic recession, West said the "time is now" to pursue new opportunities and visions.
"NOVA will be part of that new tomorrow," West explained. "A new tomorrow not only for our citizens, but for our business community, with economic development, education and workforce development joined hand in hand. This is about putting people on a career path that will lead to living wage jobs with benefits."
He said NOVA will work with organizations, the business community and local governments to make sure people in the community succeed and choose to stay within the community.
"No longer will we see our young adults leaving our community to find jobs," West said.
He said in the months ahead NOVA will develop partnerships with the local business community to determine the employment needs of the area.
Last week, NOVA helped recruit 19 people who will be provided free training at Louisiana Delta Community College to become certified manufacturing specialists. They will begin their training Jan. 12.
West said NOVA will continue to seek similar partnerships with other educational providers and workforce development organizations.
"These individuals will have a new career, and a new outlook on life," he said.
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said anything having to do with workforce development and training opportunities for the local workforce is a top priority for him.
"It was very easy to make a commitment to NOVA," he said. "The city has made a commitment to contribute $100,000 to NOVA, and I want to commend the city council for doing that. I also commend everyone associated with NOVA."
"You've heard the governor talking about prospects that have come into our state, ready to bring jobs here, but we don't have the qualified well-trained workforce," Mayo continued. "We want to make sure that we do have a qualified and well-trained workforce. That's how NOVA came about … to assist in these efforts in a major way. We are here to support NOVA because we know it will be strong, and even though we are in a recession, we know we'll continue to work together to move or city, parish and region forward."
NOVA board chairman Eva Dyann Wilson said in 2004, north central Louisiana Interfaith representatives began researching efforts that San Antonio and Austin, Texas, were engaged in to improve workforce training. She said the Texas cities were preparing unemployed and underemployed people within their communities for living wage jobs with benefits.
"We're talking about economic development," she said.
NOVA recently was created in Monroe to take similar steps to improve workforce training for the local community here.