September 8, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Old Algiers Main Street Pilots Workforce Training Project | By Amanda Lanata, Assistant Director at Louisiana Main Street |
Tout de Suite Café, a Main Street business for almost 20 years. Photo credit: Kim Summerlin.
Note: This article was previous published by Louisiana Main Street on their Facebook page, and will be published in their inaugural e-newsletter.
“We’re supporting people and small businesses at the same time,” said Aaron Jackson of Old Algiers Main Street Corporation
. “It’s not just about the places, it’s about the people too.” Founded in 1719, the Old Algiers neighborhood sits across the river from the French Quarter. Long seen as an affordable enclave for artists and creatives—over the last few years, housing costs were skyrocketing. Jackson and the Main Street organization recognized that many residents struggled to stay in their community. They wanted to create a job training program in a field that had few barriers to entry but opportunities for advancement. The project was dubbed #EquityRising.
“In our community, economic equity is huge,” said Linetta Gilbert, vice president of the Old Algiers Main Street Board of Directors. “We settled on a neighborhood-based approach—providing opportunities for people to live and work in the neighborhood.”
Advance Nursing Training
Recruiters from all of the major hospitals regularly visit the school—all students have jobs upon graduation. The Board of Nursing emails McCrary every day, asking how many students are in the cohorts. They are meeting a critical need in Louisiana: the nursing shortage.
#EquityRising supports tuition and provides a stipend, allowing the students to attend fulltime. Since fall 2020, the project has supported 30 students in six cohorts. They go on to get well-paying jobs with benefits—and stay in Old Algiers. The Main Street organization received funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Baptist Community Ministries, and Greater New Orleans Foundation.