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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Ava Dejoie
Louisiana Workforce Commission

Ava Dejoie is executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in January 2016.
As executive director, Dejoie is responsible for providing the strategic vision to enhance the growth of Louisiana’s economy and its workforce, by putting people to work in fulfilling, family-sustaining careers. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and job-seekers and oversees worker compensation benefits. The LWC also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana.

Dejoie has more than 15 years of leadership experience in public administration and is passionate about finding solutions that make Louisiana an outstanding place in which to live, work and grow a business. The recent devastating flooding allowed Dejoie the opportunity to display her dedication. Under her leadership, the LWC worked diligently to provide much needed assistance to our neighbors affected by the flooding by helping as many as she could make the tough times just a little easier.

Her focus on the public policy field took root when she served as an intern in the office of U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La.

Dejoie joined the LWC in 2012 and most recently was statewide coordinator of its Rapid Response Team. In this role, she directed resources to workers displaced by corporate layoffs, shut-downs and other job-reduction actions. She earlier served as director of LWC special projects in the New Orleans area, including supervising the Avondale Employee Transition Center.

Dejoie’s extensive background in Louisiana workforce development includes experience as a business liaison for the Louisiana Department of Education. In addition, she served as a board member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System from 1998-2007.

Dejoie also served as vice president of the Welfare to Work Partnership, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in New Orleans that provides innovative workforce solutions for companies through the hiring, retention and promotion of welfare recipients and other unemployed workers. Dejoie supervised creation of the partnership’s law project, and was recognized for the accomplishment by President George W. Bush in ceremonies at the White House. While with the partnership, she also helped secure funding for a process technology laboratory at L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans.

Dejoie is a native of New Orleans and graduate of Ursuline Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from Loyola University of New Orleans.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

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How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

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