City gets millions in grant money to train workers

City gets millions in grant money to train workers

Two big Navy contracts - one for hovercrafts, the other for unmanned vessels, will bring new jobs to New Orleans, and these high-paying jobs need skilled workers.

Contract recipient Textron Marine in New Orleans East is on a roll,

"It means a lot for us," said Textron's Richard Valenti. "Our shipyard on Chef Menteur Highway has been pretty dormant. This will fill that facility, 500 to 600 employees."

To help meet the labor need, the federal government is giving the city an $8.2 grant for training.

"We've got 60,000 jobs," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "Now we have to get individuals to train in those jobs."

Approximately $2.4 million will go to Delgado, where class was in session Thursday at the new Sidney Collier campus in the 9th Ward. The remaining $5.8 million will be handled through the Workforce Investment Board designed to match employees with the classes they need.

"One of the mandates for the Workforce Investment Board is to be responsive for the actual work available on the ground for the region," said board leader Robert Spencer.

"The pay is good. We pay about $24 an hour for skilled employees," said Valenti.

And the need for training is great.

"We did a disparity study, and 52% of our African-American men are not working, that's 38,000 human beings," said Landrieu.

But there are other industries that will benefit from the new training money, from deep underground in the energy industry to deep into space.

About 3500 people now work at michoud, including hundreds working on the Mars rocket program.

"We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to jobs right now," Landrieu said.

The city Office of Workforce Development plans to partner with Delgado, vocational/technical schools and others to tailor programs to fill available jobs. Individual grants are available for qualified students, all coordinated through the city's Job One office.

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