MORGAN CITY – In the last six months, a Marine Operations program in St. Mary Parish has transitioned to South Louisiana Community College’s Corporate College and has served nearly 1,000 students. That’s considerable growth in terms of enrollment – in fact, it’s a 95 percent increase over the number of students served in the previous six months.
The transition of the program from South Central Louisiana Technical College to SLCC is part of a realignment plan announced in 2017 by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
“Under the guidance of SLCC’s Corporate College, our Marine Operations program is now able to focus on what we do best – service the oil and gas industry,” said Captain Carl Moore, assistant dean of the Marine and Petroleum Training Centers in Houma and Morgan City.
The program provides specialized Coast Guard-approved classroom instruction as well as practical training for students. Upon completion, students are able to obtain a variety of credentials from the U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Communications Commission. These credentials are required for many jobs in marine operations.
“Ensuring that our community maximizes training opportunities for our citizens has never been more important. However, this growth demonstrates that individuals outside of our region are also recognizing the quality training available in our community,” said State Sen. Bret Allain, who serves District 21.
The Marine Operations program is a long-standing program in St. Mary Parish. It was started in 1960 by local industry to establish a training center for the maritime industry. In 1972, the program and training moved to the Young Memorial Campus in Morgan City. During the last decade, training moved to a new facility on Youngs Road, which provides water front access.
“Doubling the number of individuals trained in the Marine industry shows what can happen when Louisiana focuses on ensuring workforce training opportunities,” said State Rep. Sam Jones, who serves District 50. “Our community and technical colleges are the right investment to put individuals to work for our important marine employers. This is why we fought so hard to get the new Marine Center funded and built in Morgan City, not only for St. Mary Parish, but for all of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.”
“An industry-led study by LABI documented the extraordinary role the maritime industry plays in the Louisiana economy,” said LCTCS President Monty Sullivan. “Over the past few years, we have made strategic decisions statewide to focus our efforts on strengthening programs like maritime, that lead to good-paying jobs and that are aligned with local and regional workforce demands. Dr. Natalie Harder, chancellor of SLCC, and Dr. Willie Smith, interim director of SCL, and their respective teams deserve a lot of credit for improving an already strong program and turning it into one of the fastest growing in the state.”
The Marine Operations program caters to new students, experienced tradesmen in need of refresher courses, and business with unique training needs for its workforce.
A number of safety courses are taught including: rigging, firefighting, personal survival, fall protection, and electrical safety among others. Marine courses taught include: able-bodied seaman, inland towing, knot tying, tankerman, vessel security, and welding among others. Students are able to train on equipment they’ll encounter in the maritime industry. This includes a hydraulic crane, a flashover fire trainer, global maritime distress and safety system lab, and state-of-art radar simulation lab.
“The Marine Operations program, like other short-term training options in SLCC’s Corporate College, can serve needs of an array of students and businesses,” said Jermaine Ford, associate vice chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development. “Our goal is to put people to work while answering the needs of industry for a trained workforce.”
To enroll in the Marine Operations program, call (985) 385-7036.