"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."
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Odell Beckham on the catch; chaos in Ferguson; snowstorm set to snarl travel and more national and international news for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
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Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Two bedroom in Lafayette or two bedroom in Kaplan
Sennond trunk show at kiki
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thursday’s explosion aboard an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is now under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
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