He said having a workforce that speaks the language has tremendous benefits for tourism, and these students will be a part of that thanks to the skills they learned in the CODOFIL programs.

The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Louisiana's vibrant culture, cuisine, and traditions were largely influenced by the French hundreds of years ago, but with the number of French speakers in Louisiana rapidly declining, protecting this heritage is no easy task. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser said CODOFIL carries on those traditions for the next generation.

"It keeps alive the french culture, the history, and the way of life for so many people," said Nungesser.

Nungesser said the Louisiana Office of Tourism saw just how vital this program is when officials visited France and met with students who are learning the language while living with French families abroad.

"It opens the doors for young students in Louisiana, and when young people go through the program, it gives them more opportunities later in life," said Nungesser.

He said being able to speak another language provides more job opportunities for students after graduation because it gives them a leg up over other job seekers. Canada is the number one market for international travelers to Louisiana. He said having a workforce that speaks the language has tremendous benefits for tourism, and these students will be a part of that thanks to the skills they learned in the CODOFIL programs.

"Going through the program, these students are so well versed in the language it's amazing," said Nungesser. "It's almost like it's their original language they speak it so well and understand it so well."

Nungesser said this program needs to be cherished and expanded over time because of the benefits it offers. He said his department intends to continue to grow the program and educate people about the longterm benefits that come with learning another language.

CODOFIL was established in 1968 with the mission of protecting the French heritage in Louisiana by promoting the education of the language to Louisiana's students, teachers, and tourists. The Lt. Governor has been a steadfast champion of the program by employing numerous educational and tourism initiatives with the aim of promoting the French language across the state.

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