OREANDA-NEWS. September 27, 2016. Two years after the GE Foundation (NYSE: GE) launched a multiyear \\$1.5 million grant to support the development of advanced manufacturing and water management skills in New Orleans, the program has successfully trained hundreds of people.

The GE Foundations grant supports Delgado Community Colleges ongoing efforts to train water infrastructure personnel, helping to fill critical infrastructure jobs by connecting jobseekers to opportunities at the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) of New Orleans. In partnership with the Network for Economic Opportunity, which is an initiative of the city of New Orleans, last year 269 jobseekers enrolled into foundational skills training, 170 completed training and 88 were connected to employment opportunities.

An additional 46 jobseekers that already completed foundational skills training took advantage of additional technical skills training provided by Delgado Community College. This training gave participants an opportunity to earn nationally recognized industry based certifications including Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Center for Construction Education and Research Core.

GE Foundations support and funding has provided the critical resources needed to continue our partnership with S&WB and to expand the partnership to include the city's Network for Economic Opportunity. In addition, it has provided support for Delgado to develop and customize a curriculum that will address the critical workforce needs of the Sewerage and Water Board, said Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib, vice chancellor workforce development and technical education at Delgado Community College.

Previously, S&WB had significant workforce challenges due to 40 percent of the workforce approaching retirement age. Further complicating the issue was a bottleneck in moving employees in advanced positions to supervisory and management positions to fill potential gaps. This training program provides incumbent workers with the foundational and technical skills needed to advance within the company and also prepare those seeking employment with the technical skills and supervisory skills needed to grow and advance into established career pathways.

The first year of the program was critical in the development of the partnership model between Delgado Community College, the Network for Economic Opportunity and S&WB. The collaboration was successful in the final development of a comprehensive S&WB Career Pathway Strategy, customized technical training curriculum and foundational training program to address the workforce challenges at S&WB.

With many water infrastructure personnel nearing retirement and a lack of skilled workers in the field, our commitment to the development of advanced manufacturing and water management training was the impetus of the grant, said Deborah A. Elam, president, GE Foundation, and chief diversity officer. This program is part of the GE Foundation's ongoing work to support skill building and advanced manufacturing efforts around the globe.

About GE

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