GNO, Inc. Completes Coastal Industry Exposure Program

NEW ORLEANS – Greater Orleans Inc. (GNO, Inc.) completed its inaugural Greater New Orleans World of Work (WOW): Water series, funded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF).

The series was designed to equip career counselors and educators with the knowledge and relationships to advocate for, and promote, training opportunities that will link their students to high-wage, high-demand careers in coastal and urban water management in Greater New Orleans.

“The economic opportunities presented by Water Management could be catalytic for the Greater New Orleans region, but only if the next generation of workforce and talent is aware the training, job and career potential,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO, Inc. “We are grateful to the Greater New Orleans Foundation and this cohort of educators for recognizing the opportunities presented by this industry sector, and their commitment to increasing awareness and job connectivity to our young people.”

The series is an effort to combat the growing need for a viable, local workforce in water management occupations, GNO, Inc. reps said. GNO, Inc. projects 12,846 job openings across all skilled occupations in the water management sector over the next ten years, a 22.3 percent projected growth in job openings. Currently, the industry employs 29,230 workers in the Greater New Orleans region, and upcoming coastal and urban water management projects in Southeastern Louisiana will increase the need of a skilled-labor force in the water management sector at each project phase: designing, planning, construction, maintenance, and monitoring. Critical awareness of the types of skills, education, and training required in these occupations at the secondary-education system is imperative to linking regional students to these career opportunities, GNO, Inc. reps said.

“The strategy to educate students and teachers about the growing opportunities that lie ahead in the water economy will have a profound impact on our region,” said Andy Kopplin, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The work we are doing now, in partnership with GNO Inc., is creating tomorrow’s workforce.”

During GNO, Inc.’s distinctive programming, a cohort of 20 educators and counselors connected with water sector employers at each level of Louisiana’s Coastal Line of Defense: coastal restoration, coastal protection, and green and grey infrastructure.

Topics and partners for the GNO WOW: Water series included:

• Coastal Marsh Creation at Bayou Bonfuca with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Duplantis Design Group, St. Tammany Parish Government, and Weeks Marine, Inc.

• Urban Water Management in New Orleans with nonprofit partners Groundwork NOLA, Louisiana Green Corps, Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, and Ripple Effect, in addition to Dana Brown & Associates and Greenman Dan

• Coastal Protection and Restoration at Port Fourchon with the Greater LaFourche Port Commission

• Public Water Services with the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans at the Carrollton Facility alongside Delgado Community College

To impact classrooms and students more directly, GNO, Inc., in partnership with NEPRIS and GNOF, hosted a World of Work: Water Week that took place March 27, during which employers from Dana Brown and Associates, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and CH2M Hill hosted virtual industry chats with students across the Greater New Orleans region.

“The GNO, Inc. WOW: Water Series has brought to my attention whole industries that were not on my radar,” said David Durand of Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School. “As the Director of CTE programming at my school, it is very important for me to stay informed about industries of importance to our region and new opportunities available to my students. The information shared during the Water series allows me to present these new careers and avenues for professional and economic advancement to every student that I serve… Thank you.”

Deborah Krentel, at Einstein Charter School said, “It is heartening to see that there are a myriad of careers available in coastal restoration and wetland development in the future for our students. My students will benefit greatly from exposure to careers in water management, coastal restoration, and wetland development. WOW: Water has been an eye opening experience, and I have great hope for the students’ future career options!”

Sunny Summers, the School Leader at New Harmony High stated, “World of Work: Water has been the best series of adult field trips I’ve had the fortune of taking. I’ve seen neighborhood bioswales, gone behind the scenes at a massive Port, been on an air boat ride, and met with people who are hiring the work force for jobs that will protect the coastal region from storms. I could not be more excited to be launching a high school that will focus on coastal restoration and preservation knowing that we have a community partner like GNO, Inc. to help guide our work with their thorough foresight.”

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