River Parishes Community College receives $1.49 million grant

Staff Report

River Parishes Community College has been awarded a $1.49 million Delta Regional Authority grant by the US Department of Labor. Greater New Orleans, Inc. and Associated Builders & Contractors, Pelican and New Orleans Bayou Chapters cosponsored the grant application. 

The DOL grant will primarily support RPCC’s new Process Equipment Trainer Plant, a full-sized working production unit under construction at RPCC’s Gonzales campus where students can safely learn on a fully functioning plant.

In addition, Project P.O.W.E.R, Preparing Our Workforce for Energy Renewal, will provide cutting edge training programs to prepare the region and states workforce for high-wage jobs in the hydrogen, solar and wind energy sectors.

“As Louisiana moves forward with plans to significantly reduce emissions over the next three decades, the state must also prepare our workforce for this transition and provide the talent for a new energy environment,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This investment from the Delta Regional Authority ensures that River Parishes Community College leads this effort by creating innovative training opportunities to prepare individuals for jobs in hydrogen, solar and wind energy. Economic and workforce development in Louisiana have a bright future as we all work together to build a brighter and cleaner tomorrow for all.”

“Delivering real-time and relevant workforce training opportunities to citizens in rural communities is a priority for our colleges. This DRA Grant will provide access for students from rural communities in the River Parishes Region which will help prepare them for good-paying family sustainable careers in Renewable Energy sectors. The partnership with ABC and GNO, Inc. will also strengthen the college’s ability to provide a holistic experience for students. I am excited to see the results the grant’s funding will have on the region’s workforce, but most importantly the impact it will have on the lives of our students and communities,” said Louisiana Community and Technical College President Dr. Monty Sullivan.

“River Parishes Community College is excited to partner with GNO, Inc. and ABC for this new opportunity,” said RPCC Interim Chancellor, Jim Carlson. “This Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant represents the largest grant funding opportunity in the history of RPCC. The emerging hydrogen, solar, and wind energy sectors are viable sources of renewable energy and new jobs. Project P.O.W.E.R. will prepare the river parishes region’s workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to support these renewable energy investments.”

“The Greater New Orleans region and Louisiana have strong legacies in the energy sector that have provided high-wage, high-demand jobs for decades,” said President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. Michael Hecht. “As the sector begins its transition to now include renewable and clean energy, these communities are well positioned to create and retain jobs in the hydrogen, solar, and wind sectors, where we have specific competitive advantages.  GNO, Inc. is thrilled to partner with our education and industry partners to prepare the local workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The investment from the Delta Regional Authority will allow innovative and collaborative workforce training for individuals to obtain the necessary skills as the region seeks to advance renewable and clean energy investments.

“As the energy industry transitions to renewable forms of energy to reduce carbon emissions, the region’s workforce will also need to transition their skills,” said David Helveston, President of the Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.  “ABC is proud to partner with RPCC to provide opportunities for local residents to upgrade their skills and prepare for exciting, new careers in their area.”

River Parishes Community College is a public two-year college established in 1997 to serve the educational needs of the citizens of the River Parishes. Located in Gonzales, RPCC partners with the communities it serves by providing programs for personal, professional, and academic growth.