Get Shift Done Initiative Launches in New Orleans Connecting Laid-off Hospitality Workers to Immediate Income during COVID-19

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NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Today, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) announced a new partnership with Get Shift Done to launch the Get Shift Done for NOLA initiative, which will coordinate, schedule, and pay unemployed hospitality workers for hourly shifts at Second Harvest Food Bank and other community-oriented food suppliers.
Get Shift Done for NOLA, with founding investments from NOLABA and Capital One and managed by Get Shift Done, provides wages of $10 an hour to workers left jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic. These workers are filling critical roles to provide meals for the critically ill, homeless, and families directly impacted by COVID-19. Through this partnership, these roles, which were previously filled by volunteers, will now provide income-generating opportunities for critical members of our community.
The inaugural group of workers reported for their first day of shifts at Second Harvest on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
“Capital One is proud to partner with Get Shift Done in New Orleans as part of our larger efforts to help the community in response to COVID-19,” said Karen DeBlieux, Greater New Orleans Market President at Capital One. “By using our resources to help with urgent issues like hunger relief and workforce development, we can support the city’s most vulnerable through this situation and the collective recovery.”
Get Shift Done was launched by Dallas business and community leaders and also contributors to the initiative Anurag Jain and Patrick Brandt with the support of their respective companies, community leaders, restaurant owners, and nonprofit organizations, to fill the gap between the reduction of volunteers and the increased need among food banks.
Get Shift Done will leverage the Shiftsmart app to automate the process of connecting individuals to shift-work opportunities, including much-needed food prep, assembly and delivery services on behalf of Second Harvest Food Bank and others. Shiftsmart’s technology will enable registration of workers for shifts, along with management of onboarding, scheduling and dispatching.
With today’s launch, New Orleans becomes the first city in Louisiana to roll out the initiative, which now has counterparts in Texas, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C., all funded through philanthropic efforts. The initial investment in New Orleans is coming from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which has contributed $250K to stand up the fund and support approximately 50 individuals with paid work for up to 10 weeks. Workers are able to receive payment within 1-5 business days from their first shift, depending on the payment process they choose. NOLABA is currently accepting donations to increase the size and scope of the initiative.
As a public-private partnership focused on economic development for New Orleans, this program speaks deeply to NOLABA’s mission of creating economic growth through the lens of equity and inclusion. NOLABA’s Talent Solutions department is focused on identifying wage-earning opportunities for Opportunity Youth (OY), young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market. The first workers to take advantage of paid shift opportunities will come from this group.
“Our role as the accredited economic development agency for New Orleans requires that we employ innovative strategies and leverage strategic partnerships to ensure that New Orleans and all of its residents are financially secure, ” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. “We’re deeply grateful we were able to quickly utilize this innovative program to answer the surge in need for hunger relief in our community, while also directly supporting our local hospitality workers and opportunity youth.”
Second Harvest serves 23 parishes through over 700 partners, including food pantries, churches, shelters, schools, hospitals, and local governments. Second Harvest is currently delivering over 30,000 meals a week to children, seniors, and other homebound individuals at feeding sites and directly to their homes. Through this program, Second Harvest will be able to serve even more individuals in need of food during this unprecedented time.
“Second Harvest has been working around the clock to feed our community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nathalie Jayroe, President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. “With children out of school, vulnerable seniors and chronically ill persons sheltering in their homes, and quarantined individuals unable to access grocery stores, the demand for meals from our Community Kitchen has significantly increased. We are thrilled to partner with the New Orleans Business Alliance and our nonprofit community partners to pilot Get Shift Done, allowing us to efficiently deliver meals to those most in need throughout New Orleans.”
With jobless claims spiking to record levels, the Get Shift Done concept was hatched at just the right time by helping people work to earn a basic income. Within days of the initial Dallas launch of Get Shift Done, other cities, municipalities and countries contacted the organization about assisting them in meeting the needs of the food insecure in their own areas by utilizing the Get Shift Done template.
Patrick Brandt, President of Shiftsmart, said,“Few cities in the world are more associated with world-class hospitality and topnotch restaurant offerings than New Orleans. The collaboration of public entities, private enterprises, restaurants, and nonprofits to serve their community embodies the spirit of New Orleans. We are extremely grateful to be a part of a solution to provide hunger relief to so many by activating the strong base of restaurant workers who call New Orleans home.”
“The need for volunteers and the need for food and resources are spiking simultaneously during the crisis. When you apply a large displaced workforce in the food and beverage and hospitality industries, an innovative solution emerges that provides an answer to many needs,” said Anurag Jain, Chairman of Access Healthcare, Managing Partner of Perot Jain, and Chairman of the Board of North Texas Food Bank.
Restaurant and hospitality workers, as well as nonprofits providing hunger relief, can sign up to leverage the app at getshiftdone.org/nola.
For more information or to donate to support this fund, visit www.nolaba.org.

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