News Release

Southeastern to coordinate training of Pala employees through Incombent Worker Training Grant

Contact: Constance Woods


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Division of Continuing Education and Special Activities has received a $156,099 grant from the Louisiana Department of Labor to coordinate training of employees with Pala Interstate, LLC of Baton Rouge. 

     The grant, awarded through the Labor Department’s Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP), will enable Southeastern and others to provide training for both companies’ employees in a wide range of administrative, financial and construction-related areas. The year-long training begins in September.

     The IWTP is a partnership between the Louisiana Department of Labor, business, industry, and training providers to assist in the skill development of employees to increase productivity and the company growth. To participate in the program, a business must have operated in Louisiana and contributed to the state’s Unemployment Insurance System for at least three years.

     In addition to the Pala Interstate grant, ongoing training is being coordinated by Southeastern for employees of Bill Hood Northlake Chevrolet in Covington through an $87,587.50 IWTP grant. “Training started in March and will go through November, to increase the skills of sales and other customer service personnel, said Veda Abene, executive assistant to the dean of Continuing Education.

     Pala Interstate, LLC is a subsidiary of Pala Group, LLC, a Baton Rouge-based company that specializes in industrial construction and maintenance, repair and construction of field-erected tanks and fabrication. Since 1973 Pala has been performing work throughout the southeast United States with an average yearly volume of approximately $90 million.

     Southeastern will coordinate vendors to train Pala employees in proprietary cost tracking and estimating, accounts payable/purchasing, accounts receivable/equipment, AS400 system administration, payroll/human resources, construction accounting, financial management, incident investigation and quality management. Staff will also receive training in construction productivity improvement, project management, supervision, problem solving and decision-making, and team development principles.

     Southeastern will also provide Pala employees with various levels of computer training in Microsoft Access, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, said Veda Abene, executive assistant to the dean of Continuing Education.

     In recent years, Southeastern has received more than $3 million from the Louisiana Department of Labor Incumbent Worker Program to provide training to the following companies: Amite Foundry & Machinery, Inc. of Amite ($221,383), Gilsbar, Inc. of Covington ($543,603), Gulf South Machine of Ponchatoula ($197,602), Crossover Inc. of Independence ($59,702), Central Progressive Bank of LaCombe ($388,180), Neill Corporation of Hammond ($1,401,813), and Bill Hood Automotive of Hammond ($248,976).

     For more information on the program, contact the Louisiana Department of Labor’s Incumbent Worker Training Unit at (225) 342-7643 or online at

More News...