Catholic Charities offering job training in South Plaq.Apr 8th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: community
It’s been three years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill knocked the wind out of the commercial fishing industry in Plaquemines Parish. As local fishermen are
struggling to make ends meet, Catholic Charities is teaming up with the Louisiana Workforce Commission to offer comprehensive employment assistance, hard
skills training and certification for anyone needing free help to find work.
“We’ve had a strong presence in South Plaquemines for a long time, especially after
the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill but we’re now trying to focus more on social needs; helping people become more sustainable by finding pathways to new careers,” explained Workforce Specialist Cortney Sessum.
There is a long list of coastal restoration projects in the pipeline for Plaquemines Parish and with that comes a demand for a trained workforce, Sessum says.
“We want to keep those jobs local, and that means we need to make sure locals are trained in these areas,” she explained.
Through the Catholic Charities program, locals can obtain TWIC and OSHA certification—two necessities for working in an industrial environment. Fishermen
can also use the services to get their 100 ton captain’s license, master certification, crane operator’s license, and commercial driver’s license.
“We send participants to a school in Marerro to get the captain’s and master’s certification,” said Sessum. “The school has a 90 percent success rate.” All in all, Sessum says that the ultimate goal of the program is to not only help people find a job, but find a career they are interested in that can sustain them over the long-term.
“I work one-on-one with each client, honing in their specific needs,” Sessum explained. “Sometimes the job you get isn’t really the job you want, so we work with them until they reach their ultimate career goal.”
In addition to job training and certification, Catholic Charities also offers English as Second Language classes.
Sessum says that there are five levels of classes and even the most basic level—someone with no ability to read or write—can participate.
Currently, the program is manned by one part-time Workforce Coordinator, Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Patrick Church in Port Sulphur.
Thanks in large part to grant funding, the services at Catholic Charities are completely free. For more information or to participate, call 504.427.2221 and
leave a detailed message on your program of interest.