Students Explore High Wage Career Pathways at Second Annual Career Expo


More than 2,200 New Orleans public high school students explored careers in high-growth industries today at the second annual YouthForce NOLA Career Expo, presented by Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans and Greater New Orleans, Inc. and Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Core Construction. The expo is one of YouthForce NOLA’s signature career exploration programs. The interactive event helps sophomores from public schools across New Orleans navigate possible career pathways, within high-wage, high-growth industries.


“At YouthForce NOLA, we believe that young people need opportunities to consider their interests and develop their career skills early in their high school experience,” said YouthForce NOLA President Cate Swinburn. “The Expo allows students to explore a variety of career pathways and for our dynamic, growing companies to introduce themselves to their future talent. We are so grateful to our partners, and particularly JPMorgan Chase & Co and Core Construction, for their support of our students.”

The expo is the result of YouthForce NOLA’s direct partnership with Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans and Greater New Orleans, Inc. It is a collaborative effort to provide rigorous and immersive career exploration programming, which is proven to help students graduate from high school, enroll in college, be employed, and earn higher wages.

“Today’s expo prompted students to begin thinking about their futures and the steps they need to take to be successful,” said Larry Washington, the president of Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Through our partnership with YouthForce NOLA, we’re helping give more young people the skills and experiences they need to make smart academic and economic choices.”

“YouthForce NOLA is doing great work in our city, preparing local students to fully share in opportunities created by our region’s growth industries. That’s why Chase is so excited to sponsor this Career Expo,” said Lizette Terral, a local Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We love that YouthForce NOLA is building career pathways for students, and they’re making equity a priority in their work.”

JPMorgan Chase’s support is a part of the bank’s $250 million New Skills at Work commitment, the largest ever private-sector effort aimed at addressing the global skills gap.

Participating in the expo were more than 75 companies, institutions of higher education, and training providers within YouthForce NOLA’s target industry clusters, Digital Media/IT, Health Sciences, and Skilled Crafts, which are expected to provide some 70,000 high-wage, high-skill, high-demand jobs locally over the next 10 years.

“Simply put, our goal is to create a place where our kids can stay and prosper. That’s why it’s important to prepare them for the high-wage jobs we know are coming,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Employers consistently tell us what they are looking for in employees, and we’re using that information to prepare students as part of a human capital strategy to meet the workforce demands of targeted job growth sectors.”

While workforce demands are growing, far too few New Orleans high school graduates have the skills or the connections to obtain these jobs.


“The future of New Orleans, and the remedy to our city’s challenges, depend on preparing our children to be successful in life,” said Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, who attended the Career Expo. “Here, our kids can look around and dream about what they can become. I can see the hope and excitement in their eyes.”

At the Career Expo, students had the opportunity to utilize cutting edge and industry-specific equipment, as well as speak with industry professionals and representatives from area universities and training providers.

WYES New Orleans streamed a live webcast from the Career Expo at The webcast was made possible by Baptist community Ministries.

About Greater New Orleans, Inc.
The GNO, Inc. mission is to serve as the catalyst for wealth creation in the Greater New Orleans region. GNO, Inc. will accomplish this by pursuing an aggressive agenda of business development – marketing the region – and product development – improving regional business conditions through policy, workforce and research initiatives. The GNO, Inc. vision is for the Greater New Orleans region to fulfill its potential as one of the best places in the country to grow a company, and raise a family. The ultimate indication of success for GNO, Inc. will be the presence of a robust and growing middle class in southeastern Louisiana. More information can be found at

About Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about financial literacy, college and career readiness and entrepreneurship through experiential, hands-on programs. Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans (JAGNO), a regional chapter of JA, serves kindergarten through 12th grade students throughout 13 parishes in southeast Louisiana. Utilizing a committed network of more than 1,300 volunteers, JAGNO inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy, reaching students more than 32,000 each year.

About YouthForce NOLA
YouthForce NOLA is an education, business, and civic collaborative that prepares New Orleans public school students for successful pursuit of high-wage, high-demand career pathways, through coursework, credentials, and career experiences. YouthForce NOLA envisions a future where New Orleans public school graduates are thriving economically, and are the most sought after talent for hiring and advancement in the region’s high-wage, fast-growing industries.

Jasmine Henderson