Youth Force Pilot Pairs High School Students with Biotech and Digital Companies

The New Orleans Business Alliance and EducateNow! teamed up to launch a summer youth workforce development pilot, first announced in January, which was operated by California-based non-profit Juma Ventures.

Youth Force: A Summer Workplace Institute selected 20 high school students to participate in the first program designed to introduce them to workplaces in the bioinnovation and create digital media/IT sectors.

The program includes an emphasis on “soft skills,” case management assistance and industry-specific training to help students understand and live up to the expectations of a modern business environment.

Better Day™ Health has offices in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. Photo by Eskew + Dumez + Ripple.

Better Day™ Health has offices in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. Photo by Eskew + Dumez + Ripple.

Student and aspiring healthcare executive Destine Breaux was paired with Better Day™ Health, an electronic health records platform that was introduced to the program through the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

Breaux’s summer project was focused on leveraging Twitter to build a database of health IT journalists who had written articles – leveraging the contact information she gathered to support  Better Day™ Health’s online marketing efforts .

“Access to an experienced workforce has been, and continues to be, a serious hurdle in the development of a life science community in New Orleans. This program offers a much-needed way to get local students excited about the field and involved in local companies even before finishing high school, as well as giving our companies access to qualified workers,” said Aaron Miscenich, president of New Orleans Bioinnovation Center.

Better Day™ Health co-founder and SVP of Business Development Rand Ragusa believes other industries would benefit from the Youth Force program as well. “Professionals in other industries would benefit by helping prepare New Orleans high school and college students for the realities of what it takes to be successful in the workforce,” he shared.

Ragusa said he wanted Breaux to research industry articles to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing today’s physicians, healthcare organizations and patients. He said she did an outstanding job this summer and he would absolutely offer her a job down the line.