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City of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell



The New Orleans Business Alliance, Aspen Institute, and local partners launch a new Workforce Leadership Academy for local workforce development professionals. 

The Academy will develop a network of leaders who are able to lead their own programs or organizations and who can work collaboratively to build effective workforce systems.

Workforce Leadership Academies create and support peer-learning communities of workforce leaders from nonprofit organizations, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts, and public agencies. Academy participants work with leading practitioners from around the country, learn about practical planning tools, and are offered the rare opportunity to imagine and develop effective workforce strategies that strengthen local workforce systems. The Academy also offers leadership development activities, including a 360-degree leadership assessment.

Fellows are selected in a competitive application process and are typically senior-level managers with authority to implement program changes. Academy graduates are part of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity Fellows Network.

Engage Now

The New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy launches in 2019 and runs from March to December. It includes an opening retreat, a series of five full-day workshops, and a closing retreat.

For details, see the Workforce Leadership Academy Participant Overview below. Applications will be accepted through February 12, 2019.

Participant Overview WLA New Orleans


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Academy Goals

The Academy addresses the following key goals:

  • Support a 12-month fellowship among leaders from across the workforce development system including leaders from nonprofit organizations, businesses with workforce development programs, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts, and public (city and state) agencies.
  • Provide a forum to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges that impact workers, businesses, and communities and create shared solutions.
  • Build the capacity of participating institutions to collaborate effectively with employers and other strategic partners to create, drive and sustain workforce strategies that advance equitable opportunities for workers, deepen skills and competencies of workforce practitioners to lead within their organizations and work collaboratively with stakeholders across the local workforce system.

Necessary Qualifications

Appropriate applicants are:

  • Located and working within the New Orleans area.
  • Workforce or talent development representatives working within nonprofit organizations, businesses with workforce development programs, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts, and public agencies.
  • In a position of leadership and decision-making authority related to workforce development efforts, with the capacity and ability to execute strategies on behalf of their organization.
  • Engaged in or planning workforce development efforts in the New Orleans area to connect workers to quality jobs and/or career pathways.
  • Interested in designing and implementing effective strategies to strengthen the local workforce system.
  • Committed to achieving equity across race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
  • Individuals eager to collaborate with others in the local workforce system to advance their current work, explore leadership practices, and gain feedback from colleagues.
  • Inclusivity and diversity are core values of the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy. Applicants of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The cohort will be established to represent diversity of organization type, industry focus, as well as race, ethnicity, and gender.

Is there a cost to participate?

The program cost per participant is $500, which assists with meeting expenses and program materials. Financial assistance is available on an as-needed basis to ensure cost is not a barrier to participation.

Application Process and Deadline

The New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy application deadline is Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Applications will be reviewed and approved by members of the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy Local Advisory Council. All applicants will be notified of their application status by Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

Candidates are encouraged to apply electronically. The application is available here.

The materials for submission include:

  • A completed application submitted online. To view application before submitting online, see below.

thumbnail of NWLA Application Questions_12.18[3]

  • Your resume and/or link to your LinkedIn page
  • Your current organizational chart
  • Letter of reference from a supervisor or external collaboration partner
  • Commitment to participate form signed by you and your supervisor (see below for pdf form).

      New Orleans WLA-Commitment-to-Participate

Need Additional Information?

Additional information regarding the Workforce Leadership Academy is provided in the recorded Workforce Leadership Academy Webinar. Click here to view the webinar. 

If you have any questions about the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy regarding eligibility or the application process, please email:

Sheldon Ballom, New Orleans Business Alliance at