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GE Foundation Commits $1.5 Million to Support New Orleans Skills and Economic Development

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The GE Foundation announced today a $1.5 million grant to help fill the advanced manufacturing and water management skills gap in New Orleans. This grant will support Delgado Community College’s ongoing efforts to train certified water infrastructure personnel to work at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. The GE Foundation will partner with Delgado Community College, Sewerage and Water Board and the City of New Orleans to create career pathways in advanced manufacturing for hundreds of job seekers over three years.

The City of New Orleans, like many communities across the country, is beginning to experience skilled labor shortages. According to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, nearly 40% of the Sewerage and Water Board workforce is nearing retirement eligibility, leaving the critical utility and its upgrade needs vulnerable. The GE Foundation grant will help to address this issue.

Deborah A. Elam, President of the GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer of GE said, “Building on GE’s rich manufacturing history and commitment to bridging the skills gap in communities around the world, the GE Foundation is proud to support Delgado Community College, in partnership with the City of New Orleans and the Sewerage and Water Board. Together, we’ll create career pathways for water management personnel and continue our long-standing partnership with the City of New Orleans.”

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “We are thrilled that the GE Foundation has chosen to continue its commitment to the city of New Orleans and it could not have come at a better time. Our city’s water infrastructure is aging. With the GE Foundation’s generous support, we will train the next generation of water infrastructure personnel and ensure that the people of New Orleans benefit from our city’s growth. This aligns with our focus on job training based on employer needs, part of my Economic Opportunity Strategy, through which we are creating pathways to prosperity for all New Orleans residents.”

The GE Foundation’s commitment will support Delgado Community College’s water and wastewater treatment program, including technical skills training, to increase the number of certified personnel in this field.

Delgado Community College Chancellor Joan Davis said, “Career preparation is fundamental to the mission of Delgado Community College, which has served the City of New Orleans in this capacity for over 93 years. It is completely appropriate that Delgado be intimately involved in job training for the Sewerage and Water Board as it undertakes the vital effort to improve and safeguard the city’s water supply and delivery systems. Delgado looks forward to the day when New Orleans has a sewerage and water infrastructure that is a model for the nation. We are proud to provide the educational component to this great transformation.”

This contribution builds on GE’s longstanding commitment to the City of New Orleans. GE and the GE Foundation supported the city’s water infrastructure development 100 years ago and New Orleans is home to the GE Capital Technology Center, which opened in 2012. The GE Foundation contributed to Hurricane Katrina relief and has provided support to the World War II museum. This program adds to the breadth of skills-building efforts already underway at the GE Foundation, equipping people with the necessary skills to meet critical needs around the world.

Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans said, “The Sewerage and Water Board has the important mission of ensuring we have safe drinking water and protecting our homes and businesses from flooding. In the coming years, we will face an operating challenge as 40 percent of our staff will become eligible for retirement in the next three years. This is an amazing opportunity to recruit and train the next generation of Sewerage and Water Board employees and we are committed to building pathways for job seekers. Right now, we are gearing up for a $3.3 billion infrastructure improvement program. With the GE Foundation’s generous support and Delgado’s technical training, we can begin building our workforce of tomorrow, today.”

The announcement was made today during the world’s largest annual water quality conference and exhibition, the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), where the GE Foundation, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Delgado Community College and Sewerage and Water Board representatives discussed the importance of filling this critical skills gap in New Orleans.

About GE Foundation

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is committed to building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities. We are at work making the world work better. Follow the GE Foundation at www.gefoundation.com and on Twitter at @GE_Foundation.

About Delgado Community College

Founded in 1921, Delgado Community College has the highest enrollment among all colleges and universities in New Orleans, and is one of the largest higher education institutions in Louisiana. More than 30,000 individuals currently are enrolled in the college’s academic and workforce development programs at nine Delgado Community College locations. Delgado provides students with the most comprehensive array of educational services available in the Greater New Orleans 10-parish region. Additionally, Delgado has articulation agreements with most of Louisiana’s four-year colleges and universities that allow students to smoothly transfer their Delgado credits to bachelor’s degree programs. As well as offering associate’s degrees and transferable college credits, Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in many professional and technical areas. Workforce development is a priority at Delgado, hence the college’s well-known motto: “Education That Works!” Learn more at www.dcc.edu.

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