Tech college eyeing St. Charles location

Startup possible by fall 2017

With the right amount of interest and partners, South Central Louisiana Technical College wants to establish a satellite location to offer classes in St. Charles Parish.

“Ideally it would be based on interest,” said Melvin Harrison, director of student affairs with the technical college’s River Parishes campus. “It will take the effort of quite a few people to make it happen, but ideally we want to extend service to St. Charles Parish through the Reserve campus.”

South Central Louisiana Technical College is based in Morgan City.

If determined feasible, Harrison said the location could be available to students by spring or fall of 2017.

To gauge interest, enrollment fairs are being held so students and adults can register.

The next fair is scheduled 2 – 6 p.m. Aug. 2 and 5 at the St. Charles Parish Business and Career Solutions Center, 737 Paul Maillard Road.

The local location would be among others that Harrison said the technical college wants to make available in the River Parishes, aimed at boosting enrollment. The parish’s location would operate out of the Reserve campus.

“We value our ability to work with different partners,” Harrison said. “That’s one of the reasons to extend access to the people of St. Charles Parish.”

One of those partners, the Paul Maillard Community Development Corp., is assisting with the enrollment fairs. Other partners could include the Parish School Board, Louisiana Workforce Commission and industry partners, which also will help determine feasibility of a local location.

Paul Maillard Community Development Corp. Chair Reanda Fields Pierre said they expect to reach the needed 40 signatures to secure the site at the next signup.

“We believe if we bring in the technical college then we can spur growth in the community,” Pierre said. “It starts to bring about the partnerships that we hope to have with business, industry, schools and the hospital.”

Two locations are under consideration on Paul Maillard Road for the satellite location, she said.

Organized in 2015, the Paul Maillard Community Development Corp. is driving the revitalization of the Paul Maillard Road corridor and area. A $464,000 grant funded the creation of an economic development plan for the area, which recommends bringing the technical college satellite location to the area.

“I believe this is a great thing for our community, not just Paul Maillard, but St. Charles Parish as a whole because it provides our residents an opportunity to enroll in a technical program closer to home,” Pierre said. “It enables us to have access to education that can lead to permanent jobs in an industry that is heavy in our parish, as well as partner with institutions and being close to them on Paul Maillard Road is a win-win.”

With enough interest, the campus location course offerings will be decided by what the majority of signees want to study, she said. If most of them want to study electrical or refrigeration work, then classes will be held at an open warehouse. If nursing or business courses are a desire, a second location is under consideration that would provide more of a classroom.

Harrison said the courses could include a combination of offerings, including face-to-face classes, online courses and hybrid courses with a flexible schedule for on-campus work and on-line work that fits the students’ needs.


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