Open enrollment is underway at South Louisiana Community College for a training program of the next generation of maritime industry workers.
Houma-based Cenac Marine donated a refurbished oil and gas tank barge last November to South Louisiana Community College for training students.
Cenac representatives met with Capt. Carl Moore, assistant dean of marine operations at South Louisiana Community College, and discovered the need for updated equipment, owner Benny Cenac Jr. said in a news release.
“From the very start of this project, I have been excited about what we can offer to the community and to those interested in becoming tankermen,” Cenac said. “My company and I are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide a hands-on learning experience to many people for years to come.”
The 158-foot-by-40-foot training vessel replicates a standard Cenac Marine Services tank barge and will be used for the training. The barge will be located at Munson Slip in Houma where South Louisiana Community College tankerman training will take place.
“The barge donated by Mr. Cenac and Cenac Marine services has been a game changer,” Moore said. “We’re excited to be able to offer hands-on, real-life experience while under the supervision of an instructor. This will help everyone in a way we just haven’t been able to in the past.”
Depending on the size of the class, hands-on barge training can last about eight hours per session. The college will offer the class every two weeks depending on instructor availability.
The program currently has two Cenac boat captains serving as instructors during their off-time, the company said. Both captains have been state certified to teach the 32-hour course.
After completion of the course, students are required to complete basic firefighting training before they can become certified tankermen.
The economic benefits of having this training tool are also vital, said Matt Rookard, CEO of the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority. Having these training partnerships and equipment in place will help in attracting more companies to the area, he said.
“The No. 1 thing that comes up in meetings with companies that want to move down here is workforce development. Before costs, before tax structure, it’s workforce development. The reason is simple. You can have the lowest costs in the world, but if you can’t get the people to do the job, then it doesn’t matter,” Rookard said.
Those interested in taking the class can register at 331 Dickson Road in Houma, where the barge is housed and the site of the college’s Terrebonne campus. It has 10 other campuses in Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, Livingston, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes.
For more information about South Louisiana Community College and its Maritime training offerings, visit solacc.edu.
--Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.