September 15, 2022
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) today announced a new partnership with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) to develop training and certification programs around anticipated workforce needs to support construction of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, in addition to several other large-scale coastal infrastructure projects set for construction.
The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is projected to bring more than 12,000 direct and indirect jobs to Southeast Louisiana, largely concentrated in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Jefferson, and Orleans Parishes, along with more than $1 billion in increased sales and nearly $650 million in additional household earnings for communities around the project site. The fundamental objective of the project is to strategically reconnect the Mississippi River to the Barataria Basin, an area experiencing some of the highest rates of land loss in the world.
“The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is an infrastructure project unlike anything else in the world. Aside from its invaluable land-building capabilities, the project will also bring a substantial economic stimulus to Plaquemines Parish and the surrounding coastal parishes,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “We are seeing more large-scale projects receive funding and come to fruition each year, which translates directly into more jobs and opportunity. I’m confident coastal restoration and protection will continue to be a high priority for our state’s leadership in the coming decades and, with LCTCS, we’re building and preparing an experienced workforce to support it.”
“Louisiana’s expertise in coastal resilience brings with it an unprecedented investment in restoration and protection projects,” said LCTCS President Dr. Monty Sullivan. “The partnership between LCTCS and CPRA will allow our people to participate directly in rebuilding our land while giving them access to excellent jobs that will sustain them and their families well into the future. In addition, our industry partners will benefit from the kind of motivated, highly skilled, and productive workforce that only Louisiana can provide.”
“This collaboration connects homegrown talent to unique employment opportunities, teaching valuable skills and leveraging the resources and expertise of LCTCS,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. “This partnership ensures the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion and other coastal projects are built by locals who are not only well-trained and equipped to deliver, but who will take pride in building a brighter future for coastal Louisiana.”
This partnership is a component of CPRA’s mitigation plan for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, supporting workforce development, local talent, and businesses through continued education and bolstering economic opportunity in the area.
The project, planned for the west bank of the Mississippi River at river mile 61 in Plaquemines Parish, is set to receive a permitting decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by the end of 2022. Should CPRA receive a permit, construction activities could start in early 2023. Once complete, a manmade channel approximately 2 miles long will deliver sediment and nutrients from the river and deposit it in the basin to rebuild and sustain wetlands that provide critical storm surge protection to coastal communities. The project is the first of its kind, representing billions in investment into coastal Louisiana, and has capability to build more than 17,000 acres of land in the Barataria Basin.
Individuals skilled in carpentry, concrete finishing, heavy machinery and equipment operation, millwrighting, pile driving, pipe laying, and land surveying will be needed to support project construction. Job opportunities related to administration, accounting, project controls, engineering, and general construction labor are also expected.
The project’s Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR) contractor, who will employ and manage construction personnel, is Archer Western-Alberici. The CMAR model integrates the construction contractor during the early design phase of the project to obtain input on cost, scheduling, and constructability, leading to lower costs and faster construction, in addition to coordination on efforts like projecting workforce needs. CPRA and Archer Western-Alberici have committed to prioritizing using local talent and working closely with LCTCS, who will administer the programming at the colleges most accessible to coastal Louisiana residents and workforce, to ensure specializations and skills needed for construction activities are appropriately integrated into the curriculum.
This partnership aligns with CPRA’s larger strategy to maximize employment and economic development opportunities of Louisiana’s coastal protection and restoration investments. CPRA is also partnering with Louisiana Economic Development on the Coastal Technical Assistance Center, and exploring other collaborations with the Department of Corrections, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Updates on the project, including information on training programs through LCTCS, upcoming events, job fairs, public meetings, and employment opportunities related to the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will be available at midbasin.coastal.la.gov and lctcs.edu .