"There was a demand here in New Iberia," says Barras, who worked for six months to get the school licensed by the Louisiana Board of Regents and now serves as its director. Located in a former retail space on Main Street next to the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, the site is ideal for the training facility. "People think we built this just for the school," she says. "We have seven classrooms with the ability to take over more space, which we're planning on doing by the end of the year."
The academy offers training courses for dental assistants, medical office assistants, EKG technicians and phlebotomy techs (those who draw blood) and hopes to expand it course offerings. "We are working on a number of curriculums," says Barras. The first session ended in August, and the response has been overwhelming. "My next sessions are all maxed [out]," she notes, and the next available openings are in October.
The academy is pulling from Houma, Morgan City and other communities down U.S. Hwy. 90, as well as the Kaplan, Erath and Abbeville areas. "We also have several students from Lafayette," says Barras, who lives in Delcambre.
The EKG program, which is enrolling now for its first session in November, is a four-week curriculum that costs $1,500. The others are 10-week programs ' eight weeks in the classroom and the last two in a clinical setting ' that cost $2,100. To qualify, students need a high school diploma or a GED and a minimum score on the entrance exam.
In January the academy will introduce evening sessions for all curriculums, a demand created by working people looking for a career change.
GeneÃ© Broussard was living in Lafayette and waiting tables in New Iberia when her mother told her about the academy. Broussard's great grandfather and grandfather were dentists, and she had done a short stint as an orthodontist's assistant, work she really enjoyed. "I knew I needed more training, and [the academy] offers hands-on experience," she says. Before the training session was over, Dr. Tony Soileau's cosmetic dentistry practice in Lafayette offered Broussard a job. "I actually finished early because I'd received a job while still in school," she says. "I completed my clinicals early [with Soileau in the afternoons after class]."
Broussard says the academy's staff was very supportive during her application process. "They really made the door wide open that I could do this," she says.
Though Broussard was certain she wanted to be a dental assistant, many of the students who stop by aren't sure which health care avenue they want to pursue, so Barras ' who has a decade of experience as an instructor ' helps guide them in the right direction. "When they come in, we like to sit down and go over all of their options. We encourage them to come in and tour all of the areas. They can see all the dental instruments, all the surgical instruments. It's a good way to decide."
The school de-emphasizes textbook learning in favor of a more hands-on approach, an effective teaching tool Barras believes the students also prefer. "They want to touch it and feel it," the director says.
The medical community has also been supportive, providing jobs for a high percentage of the students before they even complete the sessions. Says Barras, "The docs are very excited because they don't have to take out an ad [when looking for workers]. They just call the school."
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.