September 24, 2007
Reported by Jordan Sandler
From fast food employees to plant engineers, a noticeable casualty of Hurricane Rita was the loss of our area's workforce.
Governor Kathleen Blanco says building a new workforce is vital to our area's recovery.
This morning in Westlake, Blanco and the Louisiana Recovery Authority launched the Louisiana Oil and Gas Industry Collaborative Workforce Training Project, also known as the LOGIC project.
The project is already changing the lives of local residents.
Two months ago Malon Sinegal was an unemployed 23-year old with no college degree and no prospects for a career.
"I felt very stuck," says Sinegal. "Like i couldn't enhance myself because the jobs weren't hiring without the experience."
But then Marlon learned about the LOGIC program. The program is paying for Malon's tuition at a machine shop training class at Sowela. And in two years he'll be a working as a machinist at a local plant.
"My life was at a standstill. And now I can move ahead with my life," says Sinegal.
Malon's the perfect example of how the LOGIC program plans to jump start the economy in Southwest Louisiana.
The jobs are here, but what's needed are the skilled workers.
"The oil and gas industry is growing right now," says Robin Keegin of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "We've got new plants, and we've got great opportunities, and that's just making it so that we need new workers and we need new people coming in to these jobs."
In fact, Governor Blanco says the growth of a trained workforce will be the ultimate measuring stick for success in our recovery from Rita.
"The workforce training effort is vital for Louisiana's future," says Blanco. "It was important before the storms, it's even more important after the storms. Our workforce needs the opportunity to be able to have a good paying job, so they can take care of themselves and their family."
Because of the LOGIC program, Malon will be able to take care of himself. But he also knows he's an essential part of the bigger picture."