BATON ROUGE — A partnership of two Louisiana organizations to provide workforce training for entertainment industry jobs in Louisiana is the first recipient of a grant from the state’s new Entertainment Development Fund. The New Orleans Video Access Center, a community-based workforce development organization for the creative industries, and Local 478 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, are the joint recipients of a $220,372 grant.
The NOVAC-IATSE project will receive the inaugural grant from the fund, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson announced. The two organizations said they hope to create new employment opportunities for hotel, tourism and food industry workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and address the projected increase of motion picture production in Louisiana.
“The Entertainment Development Fund was a key enhancement to the motion picture incentive program that I signed into law in 2017,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “It was launched to boost workforce development and education and to provide financial opportunities for Louisiana’s content creators. We congratulate NOVAC and IATSE as they expand their efforts to prepare Louisiana residents for the quality jobs being created in our entertainment industry.”
Training will target a variety of motion picture production jobs, including art department (construction, paint, set decorating, props and art direction), grip and electrics, costumes, craft services, set medics, video assistance, accounting and script supervisors. Sessions are expected to include both online courses and in-person training at a variety of sites. The program will follow all current industry safety protocols, including COVID-19 testing prior to in-person sessions, social distancing, mask requirements and proper cleaning and sanitizing of facilities.
“The entertainment industry in Louisiana is significant,” Pierson said. “We value these employment opportunities for our residents. With the Entertainment Development Fund, we can more significantly invest in workforce training and education for new or existing candidates for these entertainment jobs. They are well-paying and available to those persons who have trained in the entertainment industry, or those who are now pivoting to entertainment as a new career. From several different perspectives, this is an exceptional opportunity."
At the conclusion of the training sessions, NOVAC will assist participants with job placement on Louisiana motion picture productions.
“In partnership with IATSE Local 478, NOVAC will use the Louisiana Entertainment Development Fund to train 165 participants to work in various departments on film sets,” NOVAC Executive Director India King Robins said. “Through intentional partnerships and outreach, NOVAC will target communication and recruitment efforts towards residents out of work due to COVID-19 and communities that have traditionally had less access to film-industry training and job placement opportunities.”
The grant covers a 12-month training period beginning March 1, 2021, and concluding in March 2022.
“The funds being granted through LED will provide IATSE and NOVAC the ability to train tomorrow’s film workers,” said Cory Parker, business agent for IATSE Local 478. “This is an invaluable opportunity to showcase a wider variety of crafts that are available to workers, and help retrain the current workforce in need to a craft suited to current skill sets. As more and more productions are setting up shop in Louisiana, we will need more skilled workers ready to create the in-demand content. With this growing industry, IATSE looks to continue its partnership with local groups like NOVAC that focus on outreach to communities who might not have a natural avenue to pursue a career in the film industry.”