Government & Politics
 

Readying workforce for the boom: a challenge that’s also a huge opportunity

A GNO, Inc. program with Delgado Community College is preparing high school students for jobs known to be in demand by prospective employers.

GNO, Inc.

A GNO, Inc. program with Delgado Community College is preparing high school students for jobs known to be in demand by prospective employers.

Loosely translated, the Chinese word for “crisis” means “danger” plus “opportunity.” Considering workforce, there’s no doubt we have a crisis in Greater New Orleans.

The trick is to turn it into an opportunity.

When I started at GNO, Inc. six years ago, “workforce” was cited as just one important issue among many.  When we asked businesses to list their biggest challenges, we would get back a diverse list of dissatisfactions: unorthodox taxes, permits, education, crime, infrastructure, and, yes, workforce.  But at the most recent GNO, Inc. board retreat, when we asked leaders what they thought was the greatest future threat to business growth, the answer was near-unanimous:  “workforce.”

What has changed?  Well, for starters, we are now the fastest growing economy in the United States.  Roaring back from Katrina, we sit at the epicenter of the next great energy boom; lead the country in exports; are building the Mission to Mars out at the Michoud Assembly Facility; are the nation’s fastest growing tech market; are constructing a $2 billion-plus medical district; and, are about to spend billions more shoring up the coast.  We are experiencing growing pains — because, for the first time in about 40 years, we are growing.

These growing pains will be exacerbated by mass retirements, as waves of technical workers leave the workforce.  Due to a couple of generations of parents telling kids that a four-year degree is the only path to success, our ranks of technical workers have atrophied. The average age of a welder in the U.S. is now 54.

Stepping back, the workforce crisis is really a syndrome, with three interrelated issues:

  • First, we have a lack of hard skills.  Current estimates show that by 2023 we’ll need 30,000 more workers with skilled trade and technical skills than are projected to be trained.

  • Second, we have a challenge with soft skills.  Literacy is a basic issue. A majority of adults entering adult basic education read below the sixth-grade level, and, with Louisiana’s incarceration rate the highest in the world, re-entry is a major barrier.

  • Finally, we have broad transportation and infrastructure challenges.  The jobs are on the river and coast, but the people live in the cities — and no train or bus exists to connect them.  Rental housing is increasingly expensive, and childcare is a problem, especially for single parents.

Its complexity does not mean the workforce crisis can be ignored.  Without adequate workers, new companies will not come to Greater New Orleans.  Existing companies will expand elsewhere.  The bottom line: If we do not address workforce comprehensively and aggressively, it will stall our recovery.

This is the danger of the workforce crisis, but it is also the opportunity.  Consider these demand numbers in selected industries by 2023:

  • Energy & Manufacturing: over 57,000 jobs

  • Medical: nearly 22,000 jobs

  • Digital: over 10,000 jobs

  • Water Management: nearly 20,000 jobs

These are conservative estimates, and cover only direct jobs; the support jobs created by these industries will be perhaps five times greater.

 So, here it is:  If we aggressively address the three parts of the workforce crisis — hard skills, soft skills and infrastructure — we have an opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs for our community.  More specifically, if we do this well, we will catalyze creation of an expanded middle class, ensuring that many more residents of Greater New Orleans are participating in what the publisher of Forbes calls “the greatest economic turnaround of our lifetime.”

 The key to realizing this opportunity, while avoiding the dangers imminent in our workforce crisis, is to reorient our workforce system.  Historically, not just in Louisiana but nationally, workforce has been focused on processing job seekers through training programs.  Institutional reward has been based on volume (certificates, graduation rate, etc.) Workforce has been supply-driven.  The result has been the creation of workers whose skill sets are not necessarily aligned with current and future jobs.

Going forward, we must transition our workforce system to become more demand-driven, recognizing the employer as the ultimate client.  That is, we have to understand the current and future employment demands of the business community and then prepare our community for these jobs.

We recently saw a good example of demand-driven training with the announcement that the University of New Orleans would be introducing two new graduate certificates in coastal sciences and engineering.  UNO developed these certificates along with GNO, Inc. We surveyed the business community about the skills they would need as we begin to spend billions on coastal restoration.  Right after this announcement, Latter & Blum, the local real estate firm, announced a $100,000 gift to support the program, clearly demonstrating that the business community will get behind smart workforce training.

And demand-driven programs are scalable.  Laitram, the global manufacturing firm headquartered in Jefferson, invested in a training and internship program with Southeastern University in Hammond that was so successful Laitram has now expanded it to LSU, UNO and Delgado.

Working with our many partners, GNO, Inc. will continue to push on improved hard-skill training.  For example, in partnership with Delgado, we hosted a Craft Skills Expo for 520 regional high school students. They heard from representatives of companies such as Shell and Turner that they could dual-enroll in technical training while still in high school, and then graduate within 18 months to a $60,000 job, with benefits. As a result of their participation in the Expo, students from Warren Easton Charter High School are now dual-enrolled at Delgado, and have completed core courses certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

We will also support efforts to address soft skills, including the multifaceted post-incarceration re-entry programs promoted by the New Orleans Business Council and the City of New Orleans, along with numerous community stakeholders.

On transportation infrastructure, GNO, Inc., along with our Super Region partners in Baton Rouge, is working on establishing commuter train service between New Orleans and the state capital, which will go a long way towards connecting residents with jobs.

The workforce crisis in Greater New Orleans is real.  Ironically, due to our success in recovering from disaster, it could get worse.  We recognize that there are many groups across the region that see this crisis, and appreciate both the risks and the potential reward.

Working together — with the same focus and partnership that have served us well in addressing other post-Katrina challenges — we can succeed, transcending the danger, and realizing the vast opportunity ahead for our workforce, our companies and our community.

Michael Hecht is the President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., the regional economic development organization for Southeast Louisiana.

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  • Michael Sartisky, PhD

    Michael Hecht’s analysis is the most concise and substantive overview of the economic status and needs of the NO economy I have ever seen in decades of tracking this issue. The specific programs to address the workforce needs elevates this discussion from the usual mere boosterism to a grounded possibility. Kudos.

  • lil

    apparently only content-free glowing complements are permitted in feedback to the Lens: http://imgur.com/Uhgw2iO

    One of these comments refutes a specific statement in the op-ed. The other comment offers no relevant information, only blanket praise. Which is blocked?

    Do the readers of the Lens think this is a good policy? Or just the funders?

  • nickelndime

    It is not good policy. It needs reworking. I think THE LENS is capable of tweaking. But they can also fidget. Tweaking and fidgeting are equal and opposing forces. It’s either one or the other. They cannot coexist. Funders are still too important. You definitely make your point, lil. Don’t go away.

  • nickelndime

    Forget Chinese. I already said that Chinese will be the national (primary) language in this country if we do not shape up. Do you know what “crisis” means in the English (the King’s) language? Well, WE ARE THE PEOPLE – WE THE PEOPLE are in CRISIS, and we have a lot of people in this country who ain’t gonna make it – and if things were straight and operating according to the principles and beliefs upon which this country was founded, THEY would “make it.”

  • lil

    Here’s the verbatim text of the blocked comment, in case the image below isn’t readable:

    ———————-

    ugh, what an idiot! Total garbage from the first sentence.

    Here’s the “crisis” orientalist cliché debunked for the hundredth time: http://www.pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html

    Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising coming from Hecht. GNO Inc. is run by the worst-of-all-worlds combination of MBAs and government drones turned disaster profiteers.

    After illegally firing every single one of our UTNO teachers and almost completely dismantling our public schools, the local business class has declared a “workforce crisis” and offered up their own private-sector “opportunity” from the comfort of their penthouse condos (while the rest of the city rebuilds the hard way). So in the language of CEOs, “disaster” and “Katrina” really are synonyms for “opportunity”! Fortunately to everyone else, “CEO” roughly translates to “blowhard we’re gonna tar-and-feather and run out of town.”

    What size gift did the Lens receive for running this pathetic op-ad? Have they turned to WWNO’s model of selling airtime to the highest-bidding business frat boys? (for example: Chris Reade, Peter Ricchiuti)

  • I’ve looked into this. Without knowing the username that you used to post the comment, I can’t tell why it was blocked.

    I can see that you are now commenting with a username that is registered to a disposable email address and listed on BugMeNot, where people post usernames and passwords so they don’t have to create their own. We have blocked some such usernames because they’re used by spammers. It’s possible that you used one of those logins that we’ve blocked for spam or hate speech.

    Disqus, our commenting platform, allows people to use pseudonyms to comment; you will have better luck by creating your own login, one that hasn’t been used by spammers and those posting hate speech. In fact, the account you’re using now has been flagged many times by various sites that use Disqus.

    I can assure you that if you had used your own username, and you haven’t posted spam or hate speech before, the comment would have gone up soon after you posted it.

    If you look elsewhere on our site, you’ll see that we don’t block comments that are critical of our work. And to answer the last question, no, we received no gift for this column.

    Thanks for reading,

    Steve Myers

  • See above comment.

  • lil

    Umm… my own one?

  • lil

    this is why we can’t have nice things

  • Christopher Reade

    I don’t mind people throwing stones at me for anything I have actually done, but I think it is important for me to make sure that it is 100% clear that I have run GNOInfo.com for the last 5 years for free and never paid nor received payment from WWNO for anything. What I do on the radio is a volunteer thing I do because I like doing radio and because I care about the city I love and want people to know about things that help make their New Orleans lives better.

  • lil

    Chris, your motives aren’t in question. Of course you are doing what you feel is right. (In fact, almost everybody does, too.)

    But to be, as you say, 100% clear: is Carrollton Technology Partners, your company, not an underwriter of WWNO?

  • Hoodoonola

    Hecht says, ” Going forward, we must transition our workforce system to become more
    demand-driven, recognizing the employer as the ultimate client.” Transition? Since the passage of the Workforce Investment Act 16 years ago this has been the case – “the employer as the ultimate client”, and it is also the problem. As a nation we spend $37B annually on our workforce development system and as the last 6 years has clearly shown, we are not getting much, if any, bang for our buck as wages stagnate, benefits are eroded and rents rise. Far too many employers use Job1 as additional subsidization to pad their profits. This is common here and all over the nation. Our workforce development system needs to worker/citizen and community driven, NOT employer driven.

  • Hoodoonola

    In relation to my post below please see:

    Ed Whitfield on why the “teaching a man to fish” parable is a lie …

    ► 4:51► 4:51www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPcIumnhB8I

  • nickelndime

    “lil” is on. Move out da way. Make room. I HEART lil.

  • nickelndime

    Hoodoonola is on top of his game. Hoodoo…I just made a presumption. Right on!

  • nickelndime

    Steve Myers is a good guy. Every once in a while, a comment or a stream or two may get deleted, and you can’t find it, and you say, WDH!? But Steve is largely objective, and so is Steve Beatty. But that does not mean anybody gets a free pass, including them, around this here town. One of the differences is that if you slam THE LENS, you don’t get shut out. In fact, if you calls ’em on it (which I like to do periodically, cuz it keeps ’em real), you will get a response. I think they, collectively, have a good sense of humor and that is a redeeming quality in these times. If anything is going to save humankind, I would say that it will be our unique ability to see the humor and irony in what goes down. Charlie Chan say, “BEWARE OF MAN WHO LACK CENTS (OF HUMOR?!!!)), FOR (and Charlie add dis) THAT MAY NOT BE ALL HE LACK.” Translation from Chinese to English may not be exact, but what can you expect from thousands of years of Eastern astrology that put RAT first in sequence!? Calm yo’ ASP down (that’s my pet snake, ASP). We are going to get you some lunch! Where is that committee meeting in Harahan on FRIDAY? I don’t know if my ASP can wait that long!

  • Thanks for looking into it, Steve. We appreciate your openness. Dealing with pseudonymous commenting can definitely be a pain, but it is necessary to have a truly open, accessible dialogue. Without it, persons in power can intimidate and retaliate against those who criticize them.

    (Not surprisingly, it is usually men in positions of power who badmouth pseudonymous criticism.)

  • Thanks for answering the question about donations. Continuing on the mission of 100% clarity:

    Has Michael Hecht’s organization, GNO Inc., NOT donated money to The Lens?

    It is hard to believe that the editorial decision to run this op-ed would NOT be influenced by the past, present or even future financial relationship between The Lens and GNO Inc. Failing to disclose this relationship only increases the appearance of impropriety here. Readers might wonder if this is what we should expect from an exemplar of ethics in journalism.

    Michael Hecht, GNO Inc., and the business community at large have the ability to buy their way into any publication in the city. They can use their Ivy League social networks to gain access to any group they want to. The Times-Picayune, City Business, local TV, etc all run their letters and press releases regularly. They have PR firms broadcasting their messages far and wide.

    Everybody falls over themselves to give these guys the floor. Is it really a coincidence that they get all of this special access, when they control the local purse strings? Nonprofits need grants. Businessess need investors. Everybody needs to pay the bills. GNO Inc. can make or break anyone in this town.

    What public interest is served by the Lens giving prominent space to Hecht and GNO Inc? Is the purpose here just keeping a funder happy?

    Isn’t the Lens supposed to be filling the gaps of what the other media aren’t covering? Aren’t there other voices in our area that need to be heard?

    Or is the Lens just going to be another mouthpiece for the powerful business class? That is a much more important question. We await your response, thank you.

  • nickelndime

    “lil” has raised so many outstanding points. And the same questions emerge in other areas as well, for example, EDUCATION and the nonprofit charter boards and the powerful, influential and very wealthy individuals who “run” these charter networks (FirstLine Schools, ReNEW, Choice Foundation, KIPP…) and the State Department of Education (LDOE, BESE). Let us also not overlook the powerful nonprofits in education which run all the way up to the USDOE (Usdin’s NSNO, Jacobs’ Educate Now!, Roemer Shirley’s LAPCS, Riedlinger’s EastBank Charter Collaborative, TFA, etc.). The only watchdog in local education was the CORP OF CHARTER SCHOOL REPORTERS from THE LENS who were attending and reporting on the public board meetings. In most cases, LENS reporters were the only thing that stood between open and closed meetings. Now the reporters are gone – why? Cut off the funding. Well, that is one way to stop media coverage by the power players in this corrupt city. Cut the funds and coverage disappears from public view and interest. So, when “lil” asks if FUNDING makes a difference on who gets the attention and the space, the door swings both ways. Take away the funding, and what THEY don’t want printed, disappears. Excellent, “lil.”

  • nickelndime

    I once said that Stephen Rosenthal (FirstLine Schools – and others – Board of Directors, Leslie Jacobs’ brother) was a board member of THE LENS, but Steve Beatty informed me that was incorrect, which is true. But I believe what I read was that Rosenthal is a monetary contributor to THE LENS. So, if the Rosenthals are contributors, do they continue to contribute to THE LENS or are they some of the ones who cut the funding, which in turn contributed to the disappearance of the CHARTER SCHOOL REPORTING CORP? My ASP (that’s my pet snake, ASP) is getting hungry. Got to run. So, Steve, when you answer “lil,” would you let the rest of us see who the contributors are. Thanks.

  • The Lens is transparent about its donors. We require all donors to be identified, and we list all the names on our website. Moreover, below every story that appears on our website is this sentence: “The Lens’ donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.” The purpose of that sentence is to remind people that as a community-supported organization, donors may be part of our stories. It would be very hard to avoid that, and in many cases editors and reporters wouldn’t even know they were dealing with a Lens donor. So we make a point of noting it on every story we publish.

    That sentence links to the two pages where we list all people, organizations and foundations that have given money to The Lens. (You can also find those pages by going to the “about us” link at the top right of every page on the site.) If you go to those pages, you’ll see that the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation, which is affiliated with GNO Inc., gave the Lens money in 2012. We can hardly be accused of failing to disclose anything.

    To your point about influence: There is no relationship between the contributing to The Lens and having something published. We publish columns by a wide range of people in the community. Take a look at the bylines and you’ll see that we offer many different people an opportunity to share their views on all kinds of topics. http://thelensnola.org/category/opinion/ . That includes you — though we don’t publish anonymous columns. Contact Jed Horne at jhorne@thelensnola.org to submit a column.

  • nickelndime

    I believe THE LENS is following proper disclosure procedures. What I would like to know is what is the chain of command in the decision to publish submissions? Jed Horne only? Jed Horne, et al.? Thanks.

  • Steve Beatty, the editor, is in charge of everything on the editorial and business sides. In my current job, I handle day-to-day editorial matters. In practice, neither Steve Beatty nor I track these columns before they’re published. Sometimes someone will contact us with a submission or a request, and we send it to Jed. We have no “editorial board” like a newspaper, and we do not opine as an organization on issues.

  • Thanks for the response. You are correct, clicking on “partners” (euphemistic term for funders) in the fine print did indeed load a page that indicates that GNO Inc. gave a grant of $45,000 in 2012.

    That is somewhat transparent, although I think in this case it is insufficient: “may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories” is a far cry from “CEO of powerful funding organization wrote an 1100-word opinion.” I think the right thing to do would be to make this connection clear without the reader having to do more research (even if the information is elsewhere on your website).

  • Back to the question of influence: let’s assume that Michael Hecht submitted his opinion to Jed Horne just like any other member of the public. (Are you saying that’s how he got this opinion published? That the editors didn’t even know he was a $45k donor?)

    I suppose it is possible. Now let’s compare this opinion to one from another member of the public, Christine Horn. She wrote an opinion titled “Does anybody really want ‘parkettes’ along the St. Claude corridor?” http://thelensnola.org/2012/08/09/parkettes-for-st-claude-ave-debated/

    When two very small corrections were required, neither of which affected the writer’s thesis, what happened? The Lens retracted the whole story and issued an apology. http://thelensnola.org/2012/08/10/apology-to-candy-chang/

    Many readers found this sudden, abrupt change in course surprising. Were any funders, or worries about the what funders might think, involved in this decision? Can we get some transparency about that process?

    I have already pointed out that the opening sentence of this opinion piece is false, mildly offensive and essentially plagiarized from one of the how-to-be-a-CEO handbooks they read in business school. There is also the question of if the “may be mentioned” disclaimer adequately informs the reader of the writer’s financial relationship to the publisher.

    I would argue that these two points alone are more substantial than the corrections to Ms. Horn’s column. I’m sure we could also quibble about the dollar values in Mr. Hecht’s piece, as well as bizarre assertions like “we sit at the epicenter of the next great energy boom” (Bakken? Marcellus?) and “lead the country in exports” (only counting by tonnage, which is misleading us into confusing that with value). Many of those job numbers in the bullet points are obviously made up, which is a normal thing to do in the world of business and investing, but hopefully not so much in journalism. (At the very least, an honest publication would want the figures to come with citations.)

    Does Jed Horne really think this is good writing? Or did he hold his nose and let it slide because of who the author is?

    More importantly, will Mr. Hecht be held to the same standard as Ms. Horn?

  • nickelndime

    I have read Lilly’s next post (which is awesome) and now I would like the “real” reason why the CHARTER SCHOOL REPORTING CORPS was “shuffled and muffled.” These reporters were showing up at charter board meetings and exposing the deficits and the problems. They were let go. One donor foundation, the BAPTIST COMMUNITY MINISTRIES, pays Brian Riedlinger a whopping salary, but then he brings in millions of federal education dollars. So that makes the “foundation” and Riedlinger acceptable? Then there are the Usdins. The law firm of sitting OPSB member Sarah Usdin’s brother-in-law, Barrasso Usdin…provided pro bono legal services to fight “the fight” against Common Core and the federal testing initiative PARCC. Then we have GNO, Inc. which started this conversation and I am so glad that LILLY got in it. Do you see what has happened here and what is happening to the rest of us because you (THE LENS, etc.) rely on grants to operate, and those who hold the purse strings, control what the rest of us see.
    How are WE going to fix this?

  • nickelndime

    There was a big drop (like off a cliff) in funding to THE LENS by the BAPTIST COMMINITY MINISTRIES. Was that because Riedlinger and Riedlinger were mentioned too many times in a negative context? Makes one wonder. Cut off the funds, and you (THE LENS) can’t print the stories. Just like abuse and negligence are two sides of the same coin, so “what gets printed” is on the other side of “what disappeared.” Benson (company) owns Channel 8 – everything okay there too?

  • Christopher Reade

    Not so much – questioning the Lens’, WWNO’s, Peter’s and my own motives are actually exactly what this post was about.

    I don’t pay WWNO to air my radio spots. I personally am a member of the station like tens of thousands of other people and sometimes I buy tickets to events and earlier this year I was a very minor sponsor for the Kai Rysddal event (mostly because I really love his show).

  • nickelndime

    Let’s pretend for a moment that I am the general public, JOHN Q., and I don’t know Adam from Eve. Okay, that is too far out. I don’t know didley squat. Now, I am not quite sure exactly what it is that Lilly stirred up, but it is boiling! Who in da hell is Peter?

  • You very conspicuously avoided the question, which says a lot. Of course, many of us already knew the answer. Anybody who has heard WWNO knows that your company, Carrollton Technology Partners, is a longtime underwriter.

    Maybe it really is a coincidence that the radio station is financially dependent on the company you own, and maybe they truly believed that your daily radio spot is the most worthy of their limited airtime. And maybe Michael Hecht will win a Pulitzer for his writing. About equally likely, in my judgement.

    Since you’re determined to take this personally, let me spell this out for you:

    This post not about you, it is about questioning the practices of WWNO and The Lens. You are free and welcome to advance your business-centric agenda just as Michael Hecht is to advance his. The problem is that these news media outlets which claim to be so community-oriented and different from the commercial media (at least when asking for donations from the public) actually give undue weight to the opinions of a few business interests in the city.

    So even though this small group dominates the airwaves of the commercial media, newspapers and the PR industry; the boards of local nonprofits; the membership of Mardi Gras krewes, social clubs, yacht clubs, and so on… it isn’t enough. The tiny bit of space left over for the public, at the bottom of the radio dial or on the margins of the internet, also gives disproportionate time to you guys. (And yes, we all know it is a boys club)

    Funny you bring up Kai Ryssdal, as his show, Marketplace, is another useful example. That show, focused on business and investing, is good at what it does. But it is a niche show. Yet WWNO has decided to put it on in prime time, right after All Things Considered, ahead of the few locally-produced shows WWNO has. This show’s WWNO’s disproportionate focus on listeners who are business owners or investors, who are not a very large portion of the people in its broadcast area.

    Look, you can keep the PR firms, the yacht clubs, the formal balls, the business press, ok? We just want our public interest, non-profit, community media back. Is that so much to ask?

    WWNO and The Lens, are you listening?

  • nickelndime

    Lilly’s current post is even better than the last, and I thought that was the top. “PRO BONO PUBLICO FOUNDATION”(“for the good of the people,” my ASP – simmer down, my ASP – my pet snake). This foundation is the tip of the iceberg and only one of the kinds of “privileged” nonprofits about which “lilly” has so pointedly pointed out stink! The list of individuals, other foundations, and their nonprofits is enough to gag a moose! Karen, Steve x2, Jed – heed the call. Now, what are WE going to do about it, because “lilly” is so right it hurts to read it in print.

  • Lilly,

    This started off with you accusing The Lens of censoring your comment because you had criticized us. I explained that you had posted with a username that has been used to spam our site. You then said Michael Hecht got special treatment because of who he is. I told you that he received no special treatment. I said we accept columns from many people, about many subjects.

    I pointed out that we have built into our website template a disclaimer to alert readers that some people who write and are written about may have financial ties to The Lens. That sentence does not change based on the story; it appears on everything — and it is far more transparent than the traditional advertising model most news outlets are based on. Now you want to draw connections to something that was published two years ago and has nothing to do with this column.

    We believe in being upfront and straightforward with our readers. We love it when our stories and columns spark debate and discussion, and we generally stay out of the way. When someone asks us a question, we try to answer it. At this point, I think I’ve done all I can to answer your questions.

  • nickelndime

    Lilly is no longer asking questions, from what I see. Lilly is making some very relevant connections and the conclusions follow a logical sequence. I think Lilly has raised a number of valid issues. I see nothing wrong with the time frame. I expect THE LENS to be a cut above the graft and corruptive forces in this city. I accepted that times were hard and that THE LENS had to make some tough decisions. I think it’s wonderful that individuals can access property sales and city contracts, but the “education” reporter is gone (among others) and so is the Charter Corp of Reporters. Based on a number of issues and expectations raised by “Lilly,” now I am beginning to think that THE LENS’ coverage of influential and state-connected charter operators influenced LENS’ decisions on what coverage to axe. This conversation is not finished. In fact, I think it’s just getting started, unless THE LENS folds up, and then the conversation is going to go on some place else. So, what are WE going to do about this?

  • Quint

    I actually have stopped following or contributing to the Lens since that editorial you posted by the guy defending Paula Deen, but someone I know posted this on Facebook and I had to respond. This is not an opinion piece. It’s a commercial for an organization. And in terms of the content, GNO Inc. and other business entities have for 5+ years completely ignored the data and requests by organizations to take on workforce issues. They refused, only taking on “sexy” things like digital media and graduate level education. Now that it really is becoming too late, they have to announce their wisdom on the importance of the issue. Please.

  • nickelndime

    This GNO, Inc. piece has shown that there are at least a couple of individuals who are willing to take the time to let you know that something is wrong. What kind of feedback are you getting? If funding has dropped, maybe THE LENS needs to go back to the drawing board (again) and make the kind of hard decisions that get the “real” people back – the ones who believe you really are trying to uncover the daily and overall abuse in the corrupt systems – as many of them as possible. You said THE LENS is confining itself to local issues. We do not operate in a vacumn. So many of these nonprofits are not doing the right things for people. There are overpaid CEOs who use the very target populations they should be helping. They conduct business like expensive shows. They treat themselves well – too well. THE LENS NEEDS A READJUSTMENT. Quint isn’t the only reader who has left. Ask the readers you have left for suggestions on what you should do – and then DO IT! Lilly is your friend. Your friends tell you the truth. They do not let you slack or continue making mistakes.

  • Christopher Reade

    Wrong, “Lilly” – it’s a trade. I work and create content for free and they mention my company at the end of my spot. I was making the distinction between underwriting ads and buying tickets to a show or becoming a member. You seem hell bent on jumping to conclusions and trying to tar and feather, as you said, people who work their butts off trying to help make the city a better place. I hope it makes you happy.

  • nickelndime

    “Readying workforce for the boom” ?BOOM BOOM BOOM – is this Kendra on Top? DO WE LOOK HAPPY?!!!