A two-year $200,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. will help South Louisiana Community College train displaced workers from the oil and gas industry for available jobs in the region – filling unmet workforce needs.
The Acadiana Opportunity Workforce Readiness grant supports the Acadiana Opportunity initiative, a collaboration between the state of Louisiana, and regional partners to reemploy displaced oil and gas workers. Partners include One Acadiana; the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Louisiana Economic Development; and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Between January 2016 and December 2016, the Acadiana regional labor market lost more than 6,500 jobs. Of those job losses, more than 3,000 were from the mining sector, largely composed of the oil & gas industry.
“Many residents living in Acadiana are motivated working poor families who are intent upon breaking out of the poverty cycle and moving themselves forward economically,” said Jermaine Ford, SLCC’s associate vice chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development. “When faced with unforeseen circumstances beyond their living daily expenses, these families may have no reserve funds. Because of this grant from JPMorgan Chase, these families can access short term training and get back to work.”
The grant includes training in the areas of industrial scaffolding, commercial driving, and healthcare – current programs offered by SLCC’s Corporate College. In the last year, Corporate College has served more than 1,500 students.
“While SLCC’s rapid re-training program has already helped many displaced oil and gas workers find jobs, this grant will significantly advance the successful Acadiana Opportunity partnership that both tackles the challenges faced by our energy sector's displaced workers and addresses the workforce needs of our region’s growing industries,” said Jim Bourgeois, One Acadiana Interim President and CEO.
In particular, the grant funding will help 69 students with partial tuition vouchers, pre- and post-test assessments, and one-on-one time with a job coach. Community based on-boarding sessions will be held throughout Acadiana each month to discuss training, job opportunities, costs, payment options, and more.
“There are good career opportunities here in Acadiana, but more people need training that will prepare them for jobs that are waiting to be filled,” said Ed Hebert, market executive for JPMorgan Chase in Lafayette. “That’s what this grant is all about- rapidly retraining and reemploying dislocated oil and gas workers into high-demand, living-wage jobs.”
ABOUT JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has more than 2,500 employees in Louisiana serving more than 1 million customers across the state. Since Hurricane Katrina, Chase has donated more than $40 million to non-profits working across Louisiana. In the past year, the bank has made Louisiana workforce grants totaling more than $2.5 million. Chase has been the #1 SBA lender in Louisiana for the past five years in a row.
ABOUT ACADIANA’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE South Louisiana Community College is a comprehensive community college that operates campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Ville Platte. The college serves more than 13,000 students annually and offers an array of academic programs. Students earn associate degrees, technical diplomas, certificates, and industry-based certifications. It is ranked 14th among the Top 100 Associate Degree Producers as determined by Community College Week.