Delgado and GNO Inc. Partner with Regional Businesses to Host Technical Skills Expo

Today, Delgado Community College and GNO Inc. announce the success of a pilot Technical Skills Expo, which was sponsored by the two organizations and key industry partners. Over 800 area high school students were exposed to career options utilizing technical skills, and the Expo is intended to be the first of a series of Technical Skills Expos. The Expo kicked off Oct. 14 at the Delgado Jefferson site on Blair Drive in Metairie, LA, and concluded today, Oct. 15.

“The New Orleans region is experiencing tremendous economic growth, and Delgado Community College is working with business and industry to prepare employees for jobs and careers that are aligned with regional needs,” said Dr. Monty Sullivan, chancellor of Delgado Community College. “This cooperation benefits the students and their potential employers. Starting the educational experience while students are still enrolled in high school gives their careers a boost while helping meet the immediate needs of employers as rapidly as possible.”

“Workforce availability across many sectors continues to be a real challenge when recruiting businesses to the region, and hosting Technical Skills Expos is a great first step to ensuring a robust workforce pipeline,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. “GNO Inc. is proud to partner with Delgado and key industry partners to pilot a Technical Skills Expo that introduced approximately 800 high school students from across the region to the skills, training, and career opportunities available through skilled technical craft pathways,”

The Expo featured live demonstrations of technical training and skills led by industry craftsmen and technicians, networking opportunities for students and industry to directly connect, and information sessions for students and school administrators and counselors related relevant to dual enrollment opportunities within technical fields. It was the latest step for Delgado in reaching out to area high schools and businesses to connect students with educational pathways that lead to good-paying jobs and rewarding careers.

“The planning partners want to connect the dots between high school students, Delgado’s dual-enrollment offerings, and industry’s workforce needs,” said Jana Sikdar, Educational Liaison, Greater New Orleans Inc. “The pilot Expo is different from a traditional career fair in that students are exposed to technical demonstrations and question and answer sessions led by industry technicians. This collaboration between Delgado and a range of industry partners is a smaller-scale but significant step in our efforts to create a talent pipeline for industry and an opportunity pipeline for our students.”

“Meeting the demand for skilled workers in our region remains an uphill climb for the foreseeable future,” said George Wilson, president and CEO of Barriere Construction. “Our partnership with GNO Inc. and Delgado Community College for the Technical Skills Expo serves as a visible sign of our investment into the skilled workforce that Southeast Louisiana has to offer. Building careers in construction remains the goal for all levels of employment at Barriere, and this pilot program marks a unified step in the right direction for our region.”

“Participating in the Technical Skills Expo at Delgado Community College provides Phillips 66 – Alliance Refinery with a wonderful opportunity to support the missions of secondary and post-secondary institutions as they seek to educate and train students for careers in the New Orleans metropolitan area,” said Dr. Christopher M. Rholdon, training coordinator at Phillips 66 – Alliance Refinery.  “As our region continues to confront issues with shortages in hiring highly trained workers, initiatives like the Technical Skills Expo encourage high school students to pursue formal training in a technical-related industry that will prepare them for careers to meet the demands of our communities.  We are proud to partner with our local schools and colleges in order to inform our younger workforce about the countless opportunities they have in the oil and gas, construction, and other manufacturing-affiliated industries.”

“Laitram is very excited that Delgado and GNO Inc. have been so instrumental in bringing industry together to educate students on career opportunities in the technical trades,” said Franck LaBiche, human resources director, Laitram LLC.  “This is just the beginning of industry working together to help shorten the technical trade shortage in the Greater New Orleans region.”

 “Today as every day, we all have decisions to make, some are life changing.  For these young people, they are showing they are at least considering a better life,” said Reggie McDade, human resources manager, Noranda.  “One that rewards self-control, determination and preparation all by taking this first key step, that offers them a bright future.  This offer of a better life is not a pipe dream because the jobs are here and more are coming.  All they have to do is decide to use today, as the key to open their future.”

“Turner Industries Group LLC is supporting the Technical Skills Expo to assist Delgado in their journey to educate the current and future skilled industrial workforce that is needed within our area,” said Rodney J. Landry, project manager, Turner Industries Group LLC. “For those of us who work in the constructions industry it will help us to improve the community by providing well-educated and ethical workers to help build it.”

“Cornerstone Chemical Company recognizes the need to develop talent pipelines within the skilled craft and trades to meet the growing demands from industrial expansion occurring in the Gulf Coast,” Dave Schnake, HR director at Cornerstone Chemical Company. We decided to partner with Delgado to help address this critical and emerging need and we are excited to support their ongoing efforts providing high school graduates with excellent opportunities to develop the necessary skills and qualifications needed to obtain high paying careers within the chemical industry.

“Our member companies continually report that there is critical need for qualified workers in the Harvey Canal Corridor and New Orleans Region,” said Laurie Soileau, president of the Harvey Canal Industrial Association.  This event is a way to connect the students directly to the jobs, assist them in choosing a rewarding career path, and provide them with information of the educational opportunities.”

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