SLCC Receives Grant For Workforce Training Program

LAFAYETTE, LA (AP) — South Louisiana Community College has received $1.5 million of the $40 million set aside in the state's competitive grant program to fund workforce training programs.

         The WISE — Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy — fund was created in the 2014 legislative session as a competitive fund for proposals submitted by colleges and universities to meet workforce demand projections.

         Willie Smith, SLCC vice chancellor of Economic and Workforce Development, tells The Advocate the $1.5 million awarded to SLCC will pay for an expansion of training opportunities for students to meet the industry needs of businesses in the eight communities the college serves.

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         The money focuses on programs in six areas: application software development, customized manufacturing machinists, machine tool technology, oil and gas, painting and coating, and welding.

         "These programs are going to address current and future needs in these industries in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville and Ville Platte," Smith said. "These programs will also prepare our graduates, from all of these areas to step into high-wage, high-demand jobs post-graduation."

         The college recently created a new software application development program to meet demand for specialists in the field. It also plans to expand its day and evening training courses for customized manufacturing machinists with the WISE Fund grant.

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         Expansions of machine tool labs, information technology labs and welding shops at the college's campuses in Lafayette, New Iberia and Opelousas are also planned. Additional faculty will be hired to enable students to earn a technical diploma in 12 months.

         A 15-week program to train downhole tool technicians is also in the works.

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