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Local company wins National Award for Workforce Training

Care giver Queen Douglas has worked for Holy Angels, a Shreveport-based licensed residential and training facility, for nearly two decades, providing compassionate care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Care giver Queen Douglas has worked for Holy Angels, a Shreveport-based licensed residential and training facility, for nearly two decades, providing compassionate care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Queen was encouraged by her supervisors to attend Angel University, a workforce training program geared toward providing front line workers in the health care industry additional training and skills to advance in their careers and earn more income.

Holy Angels Residential Facility CEO Laurie Boswell said, "Over the years it has become painfully clear that many of the workers upon whose dedication, compassion, and professionalism we so greatly rely also need assistance maximizing their own human potential. Further, we believe that by helping these workers to learn while they earn, we gain a more loyal long-term workforce that is increasingly able to support improvements to the continuum of care we are known for."

Angel University, established by Holy Angels in 2010, is enhanced through a collaboration with Southern University at Shreveport and Workforce Innovations in Northwest Louisiana. WINLA is employer-driven, workforce training program, which receives federal, national and local funding, and is administered by North Louisiana Economic Partnership.

Boswell added that continued collaboration with Southern University and WINLA will provide Angel University with a model curriculum, while offering front-line workers encouragement and resources needed as they seek further education.

Queen was among the first group of graduates from Angel University's Certified Medication Administration program. She received her Certified Medication Administration Attendant certificate and an increase in pay. Today, Queen encourages young direct service workers who are nervous about participating in training and hopes that her peers will continue to challenge themselves to improve their careers and to seek happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives.

Holy Angels' philosophy of investing in its own workers recently received national recognition. The company is one of nine health care organizations in the U.S. to be named a "2014 Frontline Healthcare Worker Champion," bestowed by CareerSTAT, a national collaboration of health care leaders who promote employer investment in the skill and career development of frontline health care workers. Other notable winners include prestigious organizations such as The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System in Baltimore and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

NLEP Senior Vice President and WINLA administrator Angie White said, "NLEP and its service partner, SUSLA, congratulate Holy Angels on this well-deserved and prestigious honor.  Holy Angels Executive Director Laurie Boswell has demonstrated a sincere desire to better the lives of their employees, not only through work skills training but also life skills training.  It's not every day that you see an employer go out of its way to offer training to employees that will likely result in higher wage costs, but the positive impact to the organization in terms of lower turnover and a more engaged workforce will go a long way to balance out those higher costs. Given the high demand for healthcare workers, this kind of creative investment will help employers develop a loyal and capable workforce."

NLEP is the site director and fiscal agent for WINLA, which is in its third year of programming. WINLA brings together employer-led sector partnerships focusing on healthcare, energy services and manufacturing to develop training for low-skilled, low-income residents of Northwest Louisiana.

Since inception in 2011, WINLA programs have served 216 job seekers, and placed 69 of them in jobs, many others are still in training, as well as 326 existing workers who received new skills training. Of the job seekers and existing workers served, 287 education/training credentials have been earned. It is funded by grants from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Social Innovation Fund, and a consortium of local funders.

Learn more about Queen's story and the other WINLA programs that have helped low skilled workers, by watching her video and others at www.nlep.org, click news & media and go to the video gallery.



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