‘A perfect example’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 5, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Gina Buckley is committed to connecting area residents with the jobs they need — and that is why she was named this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Louisiana.

The award, which is sponsored by the Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning &&160;Development District, was presented to Buckley at a July 27 banquet.

&uot;I found out I&160;was nominated, but I&160;was so surprised to be named,&uot;&160;said Buckley, a Natchez resident. &uot;It’s a real honor.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I’m not speechless very often, but I&160;was when I&160;found out I had won, … especially since Kisatchie-Delta covers (eight) parishes and people from much larger businesses were also nominated.&uot;

Buckley started Westaff, an employment agency in Vidalia, in 1994.

That office helps match employers’ needs with applicants’ skills and teaches workshops in job etiquette, interviewing skills and how to dress for a career.

She also serves on Louisiana’s Workforce Investment Board, which establishes one-stop centers to assist people in finding jobs or getting the job training they need.

&uot;Businesses in central Louisiana enhance and support quality job creation, youth recreational and community cultural activities, and community development projects,&uot; said Heather Urena, an economic development specialist with Kisatchie-Delta.

&uot;And Gina Buckley is a perfect example of how business participates in community development.&uot;

Parishes served by Kisatchie-Delta include Concordia, Catahoula, Avoyelles, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes. Those nominated had to have existing businesses in that area.

The awards program was started three years ago to recognize the role businesses play in economic and community development, Urena said.