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SLCC and LEDA Secure $885,000 Investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce for Workforce Collaboration Effort

machining student

South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) and Lafayette Economic Development Authority have received a grant of $885,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). This funding aims to establish SkillUP for Economic Resilience, a workforce development training program focusing on in-demand industries at SLCC.

This grant will support the partnership between SLCC and LEDA to create the workforce training program focused on the manufacturing, machining, and aviation mechanics industries and for the procurement of related training equipment.

"We are thrilled about this collaboration with LEDA and the substantial investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will allow us to execute our meticulously planned SkillUP for Economic Resilience initiative,” said Dr. Vincent June, SLCC Chancellor. “This investment not only expands our college's capacity but also strengthens our commitment to equipping South Louisiana’s workforce with the skills needed for today’s and tomorrow's job markets. We look forward to working hand in hand with LEDA to achieve our shared goal of empowering individuals and fostering economic growth in our region."

“Having a qualified workforce is key to fulfilling LEDA’s mission of creating quality jobs in the community,” said Mandi Mitchell, LEDA President and CEO. “The SkillUP partnership will build upon LEDA and SLCC’s long and successful history of collaboration. SLCC’s ability and willingness to develop programs and services that address workforce needs and demands have been instrumental in assisting LEDA secure multiple business retention and attraction projects.”

This project is funded under the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, which provided EDA with $483 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas that received a major disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Act.

“The team at Louisiana Economic Development applauds this creative collaboration between economic development and higher education partners. The knowledgeable workforce this program will produce will make Louisiana and Acadiana even more attractive to existing and relocating businesses,” said Susan Bonnett Bourgeois, LED Secretary. 

Per the grant application, SLCC will secure training equipment, hire trainers, and deliver instruction in the Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining, and Airframe & Powerplant Programs. LEDA will lead efforts to conduct outreach events, host job fairs, employer recruitment, and related efforts to recruit participants to enroll in the skilled trades programs at SLCC; recruit employers to commit to hiring the graduates; implement creative ways to match graduates to employers; and host soft skills workshops for graduates offering resume prep, time management, financial literacy, communications, etc.

“The Economic Development Administration works closely with local communities to support place-based economic investments,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will help prepare residents for quality, in-demand jobs, creating a stronger, more resilient regional economy.”

“Developing a skilled workforce is crucial to South Louisiana’s economic prosperity,” said Representative Clay Higgins (LA-03). “This funding will support the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and South Louisiana Community College as they improve workforce development programs for the manufacturing, machining, and mechanics industries. This investment will help provide new opportunities for South Louisiana’s citizenry and support future growth of our economy."

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