Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Tuesday, August 1

Roundtable Launches Initiative

Business Roundtable has rolled out a broad-based effort to recruit and train up to 20,000 new construction workers in the Gulf Coast region by the end of 2009 and to help continue the region's recovery from last year's hurricanes.

The Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative is spearheaded by the Roundtable, and is working cooperatively with local businesses, construction trade groups, labor unions, community organizations, academic institutions and federal, state and local government to achieve this goal.
Roundtable companies are committing up to $5 million for early funding to coordinate the training and assist in recruiting participants. Funds from the U.S. Department of Labor's Pathways to Construction program and national emergency grants will be used to implement the training.

In August, the Initiative will launch the Gulf Rebuild: Education, Advancement and Training, or "GREAT," campaign to promote the program and recruit participants from the region to take part in the training. The GREAT campaign will start with pilot programs in Baton Rouge, La., and Jackson, and expand into other Gulf Coast communities in the future.

Participants will enroll in a four-week course that gives them entry-level skills to prepare them for jobs in the construction industry. In the future, the Initiative hopes to offer options for advanced workshops and apprenticeships for students who want to prepare further for advanced construction trades jobs.

Training will primarily be conducted by instructors certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), a not-for-profit organization created to develop industry-driven standardized curriculum with portable credentials to help address the skilled construction workforce shortage. New worker training is also being performed under the approved apprenticeship programs of the Building and Construction Trades.


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