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Local tech college offers free construction trade classes
Hoping to meet overwhelming demand for workers in area
By Michael Luke -   May 18, 2006

The need for construction workers in the River Parishes has blossomed post-Katrina, and St. Charles Parish and the New Orleans metro area each need a vast amount of workers to meet the huge demands.

In St. Charles Parish, and the rest of the River Parishes, a population boom facilitates the need, while in New Orleans, a rebuilding effort fuels their needs.

To meet the demands, a tuition-free job-training program in the construction trade will soon be available at Louisiana Technical College - River Parishes in Reserve.

The federally funded job-training program is being offered through a partnership between the Louisiana Department of Labor and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

"There is such a demand right now from students for these classes," said River Parishes Dean Dennis Murphy. "We were getting calls all day long from local business and industry looking for help, and they are very supportive of these programs."

Students will receive special classroom instruction and practical shop experience in scaffolding or electrician programs. Participants in the scaffolding program will receive instruction on how to safely erect and dismantle general-purpose scaffolding.

Students in the electrician program will receive instruction and training on residential and commercial wiring techniques, and, once the courses are completed, they will exit as an electrician's helper.

Murphy said that the program has open enrollment and will continue as long as there is a demand from students and industry for the classes.

"The need for well-trained workers has never been more critical," said LCTCS President Dr. Walter G. Bumphus. "The LCTCS and our member institutions take great pride in delivering industry-recognized, high quality training that lays the foundation for lifelong career path progression."

The scaffolding program is a full-time day class beginning on May 29. It runs for one week and has no testing. Classes are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The electrical helper class runs for two weeks in the evenings. Classes are from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

"Building a skilled workforce for high-demand jobs, especially in the construction trades, is crucial to the state's recovery. The displacement of so much of our workforce after hurricanes Katrina and Rita has made the need for skilled workers almost dire in some parts of the state," said Secretary of Labor John Warner Smith.

Those interested in enrolling either program at LTC-River Parishes can call (800) 590-9773 or go to www.lctcs.net.

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