With substantial job growth forecast for Louisiana over the next decade, institutions like South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) are taking aggressive steps to tailor workforce programs that match the state’s highest-demand employment needs. Action plans are underway to expand existing programs and establish new concentrations in such areas as energy and aviation at SLCC’s eight-campus system across the Acadiana Region.
“These programs are going to address current and future needs for our industry partners across the state,” said Dr. Willie Smith, SLCC’s vice chancellor for economic and workforce development. “These programs will also prepare our graduates to step into high-wage, high-demand jobs post-graduation.”
Oil & Gas
With more than 300 students enrolled in seven oil and gas-related programs each semester, SLCC provides a continuous pipeline of highly skilled graduates to the industry. The college is currently expanding its machine tool shops and welding shops in Lafayette, New Iberia and Opelousas to address the increased industry demand for oil and gas operators, machinists and welders.
With help from an advisory board consisting of leading oil and gas leaders, SLCC is rolling out new programs that will produce more oil and gas operators, welders and machinists. SLCC is the only two-year college in the state to offer an oil production safety degree program, as well as a 15-week program to train down-hole tool technicians.
Acadiana-based Aviation Exteriors has partnered with SLCC to develop a customized training program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that teaches students hands-on basic painting and coating skills. Graduating technicians are employed in a variety of industries including aviation, oilfield equipment manufacturing, heavy equipment manufacturing and automotive/diesel manufacturing. Training for the program will be conducted through SLCC’s Continuing Education division and will result in national certifications for participants.
In addition, SLCC is supporting Bell Helicopter’s Lafayette assembly facility that will produce the company’s new 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters. The Bell Helicopter project will create 115 permanent jobs and result in an estimated 136 indirect jobs. SLCC will partner with Bell by supplying mechanics from the college’s aviation program, along with support employees trained in accounting and business at SLCC. An apprenticeship program is also under development specifically for Bell Helicopter.
The SLCC Aviation Maintenance Technology program prepares students for certification by the FAA as airframe and power plant mechanics. The certification process consists of detailed instruction and tests from SLCC, as well as testing administered by an FAA designated examiner. Upon successful completion of the testing requirements, the graduate is awarded the FAA-A&P Mechanic Certificate.
SLCC graduates enter the workforce as highly skilled employees ready for work at such companies as Arrow Aviation, Bristow, Petroleum Helicopters International, Metro Aviation, Northrop Grumman and many more.