THIBODAUX, LA (WVUE) - Nicholls State University wants to increase its international identity, along with boost enrollment and a giant in the offshore industry is partnering with the school to achieve those goals.
Edison Chouest Offshore is a global player headquartered in Galliano and at Nicholls in Thibodaux the company was part of a big announcement that is designed to boost Nicholls' international appeal.
"We have students from the region who come to school and they stay in the region, that's good, that's very good for a stable workforce, but I thought what we need to do is have more internationalization," said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy, Ph.D.
Wednesday, Murphy and Kirt Chouest of Edison Chouest inked an educational partnership agreement. So large is Chouest that it employs 14,000 people.
"With budget issues that the state universities are facing they have to come up with creative ways to try to increase what we call their customer base, their students, and therefore increase their revenue and help with their budgets," said Kirt Chouest, General Manager of Edison Chouest Offshore.
The new agreement provides incentives for out-of-state and international Chouest employees, as well as their families to enroll at Nicholls. The company has numerous workers in other countries.
Nicholls will waive international/out-of-state fees for eligible workers and their family members. Also, they will have the opportunity to participate in an internship program and network with Chouest team members.
Online courses are also a part of the plan.
"We are very interested in expanding and robusting our online offerings," Murphy said.
And parish leaders said they expect the new educational partnership to benefit Lafourche Parish as a whole.
"There's a lot of international to Chouest and if these young people can come here, and be indoctrinated into our culture, as well as our education here at Nicholls this is a terrific situation," said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph.
The relationship between Nicholls and Edison Chouest precedes the Wednesday morning announcement. The company said 80 percent of its employees with higher education degrees who work at the Galliano headquarters earned degrees from Nicholls.
Previously, Chouest was instrumental in Nicholls State University developing a four year maritime management course of study.
"That will only help the program grow even bigger than it is," Chouest said of today's announcement.
Nicholls which currently has a enrollment of 6,500 students, including 170 international students has a goal of 8,000 students.
For more information on the new educational partnership, visit nicholls.edu/chouest.