St. Blanc touts 'great partnership' with Port of WSM
Vincent St. Blanc III, member of the board of supervisors of Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges visited Franklin Rotarians Tuesday, touting a “great partnership” with the Port of West St. Mary, where a new South Louisiana Community College Training Center is expected to break ground as early as January.
Port Executive Director David Allain was in attendance for the luncheon, and reported of the project, “We have finished the geo-work, and we are ready to build.”
With state funds in capital outlay having been secured for the purpose by State Representative Sam Jones and Senator Bret Allain during a contentious executive legislative session in Baton Rouge, the training center is said to be coming along at its expected pace.
St. Blanc also talked about the strides being made statewide to make sure that any who wish to be, “work ready,” can do so through LCTCS.
He said that LCTCS expects to graduate 130,000 students this year, and that they awarded 48,000 associates degrees last year, putting “$1.3 billion of salaries into the state,” last year alone.
“We’ve got kids now that can go to Young Memorial, (SLCC’s Morgan City campus),” St. Blanc said, “and get a GED and a technical certificate to become a welder.
“We call it, ‘Work Ready U.’”
He told a story of having to explain at a state senate committee hearing, that the number of people in the local community without high school and college educations is not, in his estimation, due to inferior intellect or lack of drive, but rather an immediate need to begin working and earning, which trumps the leisure of planning for the traditional academic path to success.
He championed the importance of attaining a high school degree, saying that once that degree is earned… then the recipient is free to go to a community college or technical college.
He also said however, that without a high school degree, minimum wage is the standard of what can be expected, in terms of future prospects and earnings.
He pointed too, toward the SLCC Career Fair, which was taking place at that very time at Franklin’s City Recreation Center, where according to St. Blanc, 20 companies were vying to recruit candidates for positions, to perhaps even hire there, on the spot.
St. Blanc concluded, “Call me. Ya’ll know me. Call me. If you’ve got a student that’s having problems, or you’ve got a student that wants to go (to school) but they’re having problems, use us. Call us. I’ll have them talk to somebody, drive them down to go to New Iberia or right here in Franklin. We’ll start them out. Because, they really don’t know… especially someone who has dropped out and is having problems. That’s who we are here for. We just want to put them to work and get them a good job.”