News Release

Southeastern to coordinate training of Bill Hood employees

Contact: Rene Abadie


Bill Hood Incumbent Worker Training Grant


INCUMBENT WORKER TRAINING GRANT -- Bill Hood Auto Group of Hammond will use Southeastern Louisiana University to coordinate the training of its sales and other personnel through a state-supported Incumbent Worker Training grant. Discussing the program are, from left, Steve Sicard, president of the SMART Institute; Veda Abene and Gerald Guidroz of the Southeastern Division of Continuing Education; Southeastern President Randy Moffett; and James Lauderdale, owner and general manager of the Bill Hood Auto Group of Hammond.


       HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana University will coordinate an extensive training program for approximately 125 employees of the Bill Hood Auto Group of Hammond through a $248,976 grant from the Louisiana Incumbent Worker Training Program.

       The grant, which is funded by the Louisiana Department of Labor, will be used to implement training programs to increase the skills of sales and other customer service personnel employed at the Hammond auto dealerships in the Bill Hood Auto Group, explained Veda Abene, executive assistant in the Southeastern Division of Continuing Education, which coordinates Incumbent Worker Training programs.

       Training of Bill Hood sales personnel will be administered in large part by the SMART Institute. The SMART Institute, based in Hammond, provides a wide range of training in retail sales and customer service related topics. The Louisiana Technical College Hammond area campus will provide training for the dealership’s body shop and service technicians.

       “We are excited about being able to provide this training with the help of a local company – the SMART Institute – and through collaboration with our area technical college,” said Gerald Guidroz, dean of continuing education.

       “The primary goal of this training is to develop our number one asset – our employees, said Debra Santora of the Bill Hood Auto Group. “We believe that the development of individual skills will certainly increase employee loyalty and longevity. A happy, skilled, well-trained and empowered individual is likely to remain in our employ. We think of our employees as an extension of our families, and achieving these goals will have a direct impact on our profitability as an organization. We are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program.”

       The Bill Hood Auto Group of Hammond is comprised of Bill Hood Ford Lincoln Mercury, Bill Hood Nissan, Bill Hood Mazada and Bill Hood Hyundai and employs approximately 160 people.

       The grant is the seventh Incumbent Worker Training program that Southeastern has received in recent years. Nearly $3.1 million in Incumbent Worker Training grants have been awarded to Southeastern. The university recently completed computer training for personnel at Central Progressive Bank and is currently working with the Neill Corporation of Hammond on a wide range of training programs.

       The Incumbent Worker Training program is designed to assist Louisiana business and industry by providing for the training of existing employees with the goal of increasing productivity and enhancing the company’s 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.

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