In May, the Urban League of Louisiana’s Office of Workforce Development honored five graduates that make up their Cohort XV in their STRIVE START Training program.

The STRIVE START Training program prepares job seekers for success in today’s workforce and provides them with the tools needed to not only sustain employment, but also move up within their chosen profession. Usually, the 160-hour program is taught in person with work-simulated sessions. But ULLA’s Office of Workforce Development had to pivot quickly this semester to all-virtual classes in response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Like many, the unprecedented challenge of dealing with a pandemic threw all of us off our planned schedule and outlook,” said Cherie LaCour-Duckworth, Urban League of Louisiana’s Vice President of Workforce Development. “But at Urban League of Louisiana, we are no stranger to crises. Whether it’s a hurricane, a flood, or a pandemic, we know that the communities we serve- those who are seeking equity to secure economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights- need us most in times like these. We quickly decided not to pause, but to pivot! Our hardworking staff and partners, who I am eternally grateful to, worked tirelessly to set up virtual sessions so that our deserving program participants could continue to receive the training they need and deserve.”

The Urban League of Louisiana STRIVE START Training Cohort XV is also unique in that all five graduates are returning citizens to New Orleans.

“A primary focus for the Urban League of Louisiana is being flexible in establishing innovative ways to serve our communities,” said Judy Reese Morse, Urban League of Louisiana President and CEO. “That our Office of Workforce Development was able to find ways to deliver a virtual work readiness program and provide the participants with the resources needed to complete the program is just one example of the Urban League of Louisiana living its mission to promote and facilitate economic self-reliance for residents of New Orleans and across the state. I am so proud of the work they have accomplished.”