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Shift in management at New Orleans Job Corps center

2nd July 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Mason Harrison
Contributing Writer

Management of the city’s lone Job Corps center changed hands earlier this year following a low-key announcement from the facility’s new Arizona-based management firm, which promises the move will bring “brighter days” for a program that trains thousands of at-risk local 16- to 24-year-olds in technical fields.

Odle Management Group re­placed New York-based Career Systems Development (CSD) Corporation April 8 as the operator of the New Orleans Job Corps Center. “We are looking forward to working together and forming a strong team at the New Orleans Job Corps Center,” Lisa Odle, head of the new management group, says in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Depart­ment of Labor, which administers the federal Job Corps program, said, in an e-mailed response to questions, that the change in management was simply due to the expiration of the previous management team’s contract.

“Job Corps centers are operated through contracts between the U.S. Department of Labor and private businesses, non-profit organizations and Tribal entities. As a contract nears expiration, as was the case for the New Orleans Job Corps Center, the government conducts a procurement for the continued operation of the center. The successful bidder for this procurement was Odle Management Group.”

Lisa Odle shed further light on the process, however, and says the switch was due, in part, to the government’s push to expand federal contracts to small and medium-sized businesses. “Career Systems Development Corporation is a very large company,” Odle says. “We were able to get the new contract because we are smaller.”

But CSD will remain a player in the New Orleans Job Corps program as a subcontractor of Odle Management, overseeing the educational aspect of the program while the Odle group takes responsibility for the site as a whole.

Emphasizing what it calls “The Odle Way” the group’s statement notes: “We provide our people with opportunities for growth. “We promote from within. We provide our people with meaningful training and development opportunities. We provide a series of leadership development training for our managers and provide high-powered training for all of our staff. We look at training as an investment in our human capital. Odle Man­agement is willing to invest in people, nurture talent, and provide clear roadmaps for career development.”

Lisa Odle also points out that expenditures from the two-year $10 million contract her group received will be used to boost the New Orleans economy. “I told [local officials] that it is our intention to hire locally and buy our goods and services locally.” Odle says her group’s commitment to the local economy is one that she takes with her to every community in the seven states where her firm operates.

Job Corps was launched in the early 1960s and was the brainchild of social welfare advocate Sargent Shriver, who was also instrumental in creating the international volunteer relief program known as the Peace Corps. Job Corps is the nation’s largest technical training and education program for low-income youth and has more than 120 offices across the United States and Puerto Rico.

The Labor Department spokes­person would not comment on if the new Odle group contract will save the government money; and the group’s president did not elaborate on just how her organization will deliver the brighter days promised in the group’s statement.

The department did note, however, that the switch in management at the New Orleans center will have “no effect on program participants” and the Odle statement indicates: “We strive, in everything we do, to be top performers. We deliver high performance to the Department of Labor – our customer. We provide high performance for our consumers – those we serve. Our vision is about commitment. Being committed to performance, both individually and collectively, is what drives success for ourselves and all those we serve. Only when we are all unified in this vision do we truly succeed.”

Representatives for CSD could not be reached for comment at press time.

This article was originally published in the July 2, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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