GNO, Inc. Partners with United Way of Southeast Louisiana on Strategy to Retrain and Upskill Regional Workforce


GNO, Inc. Partners with United Way of Southeast Louisiana on Strategy to Retrain and Upskill Regional Workforce for the Post-Coronavirus Economy

NEW ORLEANS— United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has awarded GNO, Inc. $50,000 from its COVID-19 Relief Fund to examine digital literacy and technological upskilling needs of workers in industries hard-hit by COVID-19.  

Investments in digital skills training are critical to the re-employment and career advancement of displaced and low-income workers in the Greater New Orleans region.  With funding and partnership from UWSELA, GNO, Inc. will complete a displaced worker analysis that builds on national research and identifies local trends for key industry sectors to create a workforce recovery strategy that will bridge the digital gaps and upskilling needs of the region’s workforce.  
Michael Hecht, President & CEO at GNO, Inc. said, GNO, Inc. and United Way are taking a systemic approach to preparing and upskilling our most disadvantaged workforce by leveraging the strengths of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and Greater New Orleans’ strong network of industry and employer partners.  As we wade through the COVID-19 crisis, we want to take this as an opportunity to correct generational inequalities.”  
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, and subsequent halt in economic activity, Greater New Orleans residents are facing months of disruptions to their lives and income.  With a significant portion of the Greater New Orleans economy relying heavily on tourism, hospitality, and retail jobs—as well as industrial jobs in the energy sector—the region is at serious combined risk for impacts on “lives and livelihood.”    
The risk is perhaps largest for the region’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) workers, who are most vulnerable from both a health and economic standpoint.  Economic losses will have a disproportionate impact on GNO’s ALICE workers and SNAP participants, given the overall lower rates of wages, higher rates of basic employment, and lower acquisition of key technology skills that will become increasingly relevant in the rebounding economy.
“When ALICE struggles, we all struggle, which underscores the importance of stabilizing ALICE households during this critical juncture,” said UWSELA President & CEO Michael Williamson. “United Way’s partnership with GNO, Inc. will advance our fight to ensure every person has access to a quality education, including the knowledge, skills and training they need to attain jobs that pay a living wage.” 
GNO, Inc. is well-positioned to lead this research through their work proactively tracking and analyzing current job losses and unemployment claims, as well as ongoing work with industry partners to assess the turnaround of specific industry sectors and recovery of specific jobs and occupations.  


About Greater New Orleans, Inc.
GNO, Inc. is the regional economic development organization for Southeast Louisiana. GNO, Inc.’s mission is to create a Greater New Orleans with a thriving economy and an excellent quality of life, for everyone.
More information can be found at
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit

Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.