YouthForce NOLA: A Career Readiness Initiative for New Orleans Students

About YouthForce NOLA


YouthForce NOLA was launched in summer 2015 as a collaboration between a group of partner organizations fueled by a vision of New Orleans being a proof point for career and technical education, with thriving, regional industry-aligned training pathways that prepare students for high-wage, high-demand careers and rigorous post-secondary options.


YouthForce NOLA’s mission is that every high school student will have access to the information, training, and experiences necessary to prepare for high-wage, high-demand careers aligned to regional industries.

Guiding Belief

Our primary guiding belief is that this work – when done well – will prepare an increasing percentage of New Orleans graduates for success in both college and career.

Our Goals

YouthForce NOLA has identified four, key goals to focus our efforts over the next five years:

  • 20% of the Class of 2020 will earn industry-recognized culminating credentials that will place them on high-wage, high-demand regional career pathways.
  • 10% of the Class of 2020 will complete YouthForce internships.
  • Citywide, more students will demonstrate employer validated, career-ready soft skills.
  • Citywide, more students will be employed.

View the full YouthForce NOLA plan with supporting context on regional high-wage, high-demand industries.

Opportunities to Engage with YouthForce NOLA

For Schools

A key component of the YouthForce NOLA plan is to build the capacity of schools to offer students the coursework and experiences necessary to earn industry recognized credentials that will place them on high-wage, high-demand career pathways. View the October 2015 YouthForce NOLA RFP for high schools – note that applications for this round of grants are due November 4, 2015.

New Orleans educators with questions, or who want to get involved with YouthForce NOLA, should email Cate Swinburn,

For Businesses

In order to build awareness, facilitate exploration, and ensure students develop the soft skills and access the technical training needed for the world of work, businesses across New Orleans are opening their doors to students and educators. Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) and the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) are acting as employer-facing intermediaries to coordinate and centralize industry involvement and investment in work-based learning opportunities for K-12 system.

To learn more and/or to get involved, business leaders should email Ashley Aleman, K-12 Industry Liaison at GNO, Inc.,, and Cheyenne Ellis, Senior Associate, Strategy, Industry & Research at NOLABA,

For Training Providers

Our schools and educators have neither the expertise nor the capacity to offer the full range of training and coursework needed to develop students’ technical knowledge and skills. YouthForce NOLA will facilitate partnerships between schools and training providers (both private and higher education).

Training providers with questions, or who want to get involved with YouthForce NOLA, should email Cate Swinburn,

YouthForce NOLA Partner Steering Committee Organizations

  • Baptist Community Ministries
  • City of New Orleans
  • Educate Now!
  • GNO, Inc.
  • New Orleans Business Alliance
  • New Schools for New Orleans
  • Orleans Parish School Board
  • Louisiana Recovery School District
  • United Way of Southeast Louisiana
  • Urban League of Greater New Orleans

Educate Now! serves as the convener and fiscal agent for YouthForce NOLA.