Media Contact: Quintin D. Taylor, LCTCS Chief Public Affairs Officer
Baton Rouge, La. - The Louisiana Community and Technical College System announced Feb. 1 that the Delgado Community College Maritime and Industrial Training Center will seek designation as a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence. The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act (H.R. 2286), introduced by Congressmen Gene Green (D-TX) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) and co-authored by Louisiana Senators John Kennedy (R) and Bill Cassidy (R) is part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was recently signed by President Trump.
The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act authorizes federal designation of community and technical college "centers of excellence" to help provide technical education and training programs that will secure the talent pipeline for the nation's maritime workforce. A shortage of qualified maritime workers has been identified by U.S. industry leaders as the primary challenge to growth in the domestic maritime sector. The maritime industry requires technical skills training and licensing - even for entry-level positions. To earn appropriate credentials for each level of maritime industry employment, workers must complete regular training.
"Louisiana's maritime industry is vital to the American economy. Training the next generation of maritime workers in Louisiana benefits Louisiana, the United States and indeed, the world," said U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.
In April 2016, the Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center moved into its new $6.5 million, state-of-the-art facility in New Orleans. The U.S. Coast Guard approved facility provides education and workforce training in fields including maritime operations, industrial firefighting and safety, homeland security and leadership skills. Over the past 30 years, the site has provided more than 100,000 certifications to licensed mariners employed in brown water, blue water and oil and gas-related professional career paths.
"Louisiana's Community and Technical College System has earned a stellar reputation for workforce training and development in the maritime industry and becoming a center for excellence would provide tremendous opportunities for our state, our people and this industry as a whole," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "The potential impact both nationally and internationally is exciting, and we applaud the work by our Louisiana senators to make this a reality."
Delgado was the first community college in the nation to offer a bridge simulator for marine navigation, and now is proud to house three full mission, interactive bridge simulators. The Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center also include three Radar Labs, eight classrooms, meeting space and a large assembly area.
"Louisiana's maritime leadership speaks for itself - home to five of the nation's top fifteen ports, more maritime jobs than anywhere else in the country, highest export intensity and export growth, the top ranking state for waterborne commerce that moves more than 500 million annual tons of cargo and the gateway to America's commerce super highway: the Mississippi River system," said Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves. "There's no place better for this designation than in Louisiana, and by earning it, Delgado can further enhance our state's marine expertise, strengthen its relationships and cooperation with industry and continue to provide responsive training for the future of this vital sector of our state and national economy."
LCTCS Board Chairman Tim Hardy added, "This is a great opportunity for Delgado to build on its rich history of being one of the best maritime training facilities in the nation. The faculty and staff are the finest in the industry and our Board is committed to ensuring that the college continues meeting the training and workforce demands of the maritime sector."
The centers of excellence designation will enable colleges to expand their capacity to train domestic maritime workers by admitting more students, training faculty, expanding facilities, creating new maritime career pathways from associate degree to baccalaureate degree programs, and awarding credit for prior learning experience - including military service.
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