Terrebonne Parish, like much of the Gulf Coast, has been subjected to natural and man-made disasters throughout its history. These events had catastrophic short-term effects on the Parish’s residents, environment, and economy. However, there has been a long-term benefit: The recovery and cleanup operations left behind a base of experience and knowledge regarding coastal restoration.
Building this industry target group will require a diverse workforce of engineers, technicians, scientists, and heavy construction workers. Terrebonne Parish already has a strong base of labor in these areas, due to both the Oil & Gas industry and to the presence of technical training programs at Nicholls State University, Fletcher Technical Community College, and South Central Louisiana Community College.
The development of this industry target is supported by several federal, state, and local initiatives that fund the development and implementation of coastal restoration projects. At the federal level, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) has funded hundreds of millions of dollars in restoration efforts in the Parish; this is expected to continue. Another federal program is the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which funds programs to mitigate the environmental impacts of the Oil & Gas industry. At the state level, the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Study has funded several major initiatives as well.
The Parish itself has a Department of Coastal Restoration and Preservation. This office coordinated the development of a Comprehensive Coastal Restoration Plan for the Parish in 2009. This plan puts forth an “offensive strategy,” centered on the large-scale restoration of barrier islands, estuaries, and habitats. This ambitious plan was designed to be implemented over a 100-year period—as such, there will be many opportunities for projects for technical and heavy construction contractors for decades to come.
- Loss of more than 300 square miles of coastal land over the past 60 years and continued threat to coastal areas
- Federal, state, and local commitment to coastal restoration investments and projects
- Availability of engineers, technicians, and scientists
- Availability of heavy construction personnel
- Quality of labor-management relations
- Availability of post-secondary vocational training
- Availability of on-the-job training assistance
- Availability of post-secondary training programs at Nicholls State, Fletcher Tech, and South Central Louisiana Community College
- Opportunity to create high-wage jobs in the region
- Growth in the Professional, Scientific & Technical Services sector
- High concentration in the Construction sector
- Opportunity to reduce reliance on expertise from outside the region
- Average target subsector national earnings of $94,662
- Average target subsector 10-year past employment growth rate: 13.4%
- Average target subsector 10-year forecast employment growth rate: 19.1%
- An existing local pool of high-demand occupations
- Quality of place assets: availability of all types of housing, low cost of living, cultural activity, recreational opportunities, medical facilities