GNO, Inc., Nunez, St. Bernard Parish Announce Workforce Development Program


New Orleans — Today, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) joined St. Bernard Parish and Nunez Community College (Nunez) in announcing expanded training opportunities in its Process Technology and Industrial Maintenance programs. St. Bernard Parish dedicated $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to fully fund the training of 82 St. Bernard Parish residents in these programs. Forty-one students will be trained in Nunez’s Industrial Maintenance Program and 41 students will be trained in the Industrial Technology (PTEC) Program, a two year Associate’s Degree program. Allocation of funds in this manner represents the first time that a governmental entity has allocated its obligated CDBG Katrina/Rita Disaster Recovery Funds to a local college to pay for student tuitions and other costs.

“This program is another example of the private and public sector working together to benefit the citizens of Louisiana,” said Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. “This investment of disaster funds in workforce development demonstrates the innovation that’s possible when we all work together for recovery.”

“Availability of trained workforce is one of the biggest issues that could gate the growth and progress of our region,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “The training of St. Bernard residents and the expansion of Industrial Maintenance and Process Technology Programs at Nunez will help to close that gap. We look forward to continuing to work with Nunez Community College and other higher education institutions across the region to ensure that workforce needs are met.”

GNO, Inc. worked with St. Bernard Parish and Nunez to identify fields of growth and potential in the St. Bernard Parish area. Recent Louisiana Workforce Commission Data indicates a need for more than 65,000 jobs in Greater New Orleans for skilled craft labor by 2016. To meet this demand, St. Bernard Parish, Nunez, and GNO Inc. recognized that training skilled workers and expanding Nunez’s current PTEC and Industrial Maintenance Programs are critical steps to satisfying the needs of industry throughout the region.

“We are thrilled to have assisted St. Bernard Parish and Nunez in the conceptualization and creation of this partnership and program,” said Jana Sikdar, Educational Liaison of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “This Workforce Development Program stands to change the lives of 82 deserving and dedicated St. Bernard residents. We applaud St. Bernard and Nunez for making this pathway to training and opportunity available to the St. Bernard community.”

“This project provides Nunez, St. Bernard Parish, and GNO Inc., with an opportunity to showcase the incredible workforce training opportunities we have here, as well as impart the level of skill our citizens need for high-wage, high-demand positions in industry,” said Dr. Thomas R. Warner, Chancellor of Nunez Community College.

“St. Bernard Parish Government is looking forward to its partnership with Nunez Community College on the Workforce Development Project,” said St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta. “This is the first time that a government entity has allocated its obligated CDBG Katrina/Rita Disaster Recovery Funds to a local community college for student tuitions, salaries, equipment, and other costs. I would like to thank Nunez Chancellor Dr. Thomas Warner, GNO Inc. President Michael Hecht, Jerry Graves Jr., and Andrew Becker for contributing to the development of this innovative project.”

“I’m excited and proud to be a part of the St. Bernard Parish/Nunez Workforce Development Project that will enhance two excellent programs at Nunez Community College and ultimately change the lives of many St. Bernard Parish residents” said Andrew Becker, Assistant Recovery Manager, St. Bernard Parish.

Implementation of this program will officially begin in Fall 2014.

The grant will also fund marketing and outreach, which will include visits to Chalmette High School to educate students on this opportunity. The implementation of this program will officially begin in Fall 2014. The average salary for an Industrial Maintenance job is $47,000, while the average salary for an Industrial Technology job is over $60,000. Completion rate and placement in workforce is 80% for these two programs. 51.2 % of all students enrolled will be from families of low to moderate income within St. Bernard Parish. Total costs for training of students, including tuition and fees for 82 students, will be provided by this grant.

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About Greater New Orleans, Inc.

GNO, Inc. is the regional economic development organization, serving to coordinate, consolidate, and catalyze economic development activity. The GNO, Inc. Mission is to create jobs and wealth in the Greater New Orleans community. The GNO, Inc. Vision is for the Greater New Orleans region to fulfill its potential as one of the best places in the country to grow a company, and raise a family.

More information can be found at www.gnoinc.org.