Economic & Workforce-Related Development


Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning
Prepared By:  Dr. Obadiah J.K. Simmons, Jr., Associate Professor & Interim Chief Unit Officer (CUO)

Name Year(s) Partner(s) Location Parish(es) Agency ($) Commentary
CHOICES 2009 - 13

New Living Word Ministries (NLWM) in
Ruston (LA)

Lincoln, Union, Claiborne

DOJ via OJP ($200,000).

Title of initiative is Creating Honorable Opportunities Involving Community, Education, & Service.  Project involves assisting ex-offenders to transition back into communities and/or their families.  Initiative involves both females and males.  Approximately 120 individuals are being equipped to become business owners and/or entrepreneurs throughout North Central LA.  Approximately 95% of the clients African-American.  Min/Rev Jerry Baldwin serves as the CEO of NLWM of Ruston (LA).   Involves faculty from  GSU Colleges of Education & Professional Studies.

EMERALD 2008- 13

Delta Regional CDC (Ferriday, LA); PRIDE Community Assoc (Waterproof, LA); Renewal, Inc. (Monroe, LA); Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce (Gram-bling, LA); Pilgrim’s Rest Outreach Min. (Winnsboro, LA); Greater North LA CDC (Jonesboro, LA); North Louisiana Community Enhancement Corporation (Bastrop, LA)

Catahoula; Concordia; Tensas; Madison; Morehouse; Ouachita; Lincoln; East Carroll; Jackson; Winn; Bienville

SBA ($487,500)

Title of initiative is Expanding Minority Entrepreneurship Regionally Across the Louisiana Delta Region. Designed to assist minority small business and/or entrepreneurs throughout the LA Delta Region.  Approximately 120 clients being served.  CEOs of the organizations include:  Emerson Slain (Ferriday); Kemmeka Davis (Waterproof); Bishop Alvin Walker (Monroe); Barbara McIntyre (Grambling); Ed January (Winnsboro); Janice Simmons (Jonesboro); and, Min/Rev Payne Montgomery (Grambling/Bastrop).  Involves faculty from GSU Colleges of Business & Education.

College of Business

The College of Business faculty members who have partnered with organizations and/or economic programs to provide economic development activities.

Dr. Ogbonnaya John Nwoha:

Economic faculty members are involved in various economic development efforts in Northern Louisiana and the state of Louisiana as a whole.  Faculty members involved in project Expending Minority Entrepreneurship Regionally Across the Louisiana Delta (EMERALD) provided e-Commerce training and seminars, workforce development, and business economic education to area chambers of commerce, municipalities, and small businesses.  They also provide training to community leaders and others officials influencing local economic development.  The EMERALD grant provided $487,500 to the local economy over a two-year period. The College of Business and Economics faculty are co-recipients of the funding from the Small Business Administration.

Dr. Ogbonnaya John Nwoha is the co-project director for project EMERALD.  In this capacity he uses his expertise as an economist and e-commerce to educate small businesses in Northern Louisiana.  He has presented at a Saturday morning E-Commerce seminar for the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce.  He has also provided a grant-writing workshop for small businesses in Northern Louisiana on a Saturday morning at a church in Ruston, LA.  He also works one on one with small start-up businesses in the area in getting a web presence or general business consultation.

Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning

In addition to academic degree programs, Grambling State University through Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning provides services through their outreach branch to assist the region in meeting workforce needs.  GSU partners with various community stakeholders in an effort to address workforce needs in northern Louisiana.  For example, Grambling State University is partnering with various entities to offer training for individuals that will support small business development. GSU is currently engaged in two (2) federally funded initiatives entitled:  Expanding Minority Entrepreneurship Regionally Across the Louisiana Delta (aka Project EMERALD - I & II); and, Creating Honorable Opportunities Involving Community, Education, and Service (aka Project CHOICES)  involved in assisting to create minority small business development opportunities and/or entrepreneurs throughout the North Louisiana Region.  The table below identifies GSU’s existing Partners in both projects:


Target Area(s)/Parishes


Delta Regional Community Development Corporation, Inc. (Ferriday, LA)

Concordia & Tensas Parishes

Community development organization.

Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce (Grambling, LA)

Lincoln Parish

Community/Business-oriented organization.

Greater North Louisiana Community Development Corporation, Inc. (Jonesboro, LA)

Jackson & Winn Parishes

Community development organization.

Joy I.M.P.A.C.T., Inc. (Jonesboro, LA)

Jackson & Winn Parishes

Faith-based community outreach organization.

New Living Word Ministries, Inc. (Ruston, LA)

Claiborne, Lincoln, & Union Parishes

Faith-based community outreach organization.

North Louisiana Community Enhancement Corporation, Inc. (Bastrop, LA)

Morehouse Parish

Community development organization.

Pilgrims Rest Outreach Ministry, Inc. (Winnsboro, LA)

Caldwell & Franklin Parishes

Faith-based community outreach organization.

PRIDE Community Association, Inc. (Waterproof, LA)

Madison & Tensas Parishes

Community development organization.

Renewal, Inc. (Monroe, LA)

Ouachita Parish

Faith-based community outreach organization.


While Project EMERALD specifically targets minority and underrepresented groups throughout the region, Project CHOICES—an initiative evolving from the federally driven Second Chance Act—targets ex-offenders in assisting them to make a seamless transition back into their communities and families.  Additionally, Joy IMPACT is Partnering with GSU to infuse digital journalism into rural communities in North Central Louisiana.  These initiatives, while led by GSU, involve an interdisciplinary collaboration among several academic departments to facilitate the components/modules for each of these economic and workforce development projects.