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Fletcher Technical Community College is getting a program that will aid students in learning skills related to rebuilding Louisiana’s battered and fragile coast, in particular at locations in Terrebonne Parish.

Fletcher’s chancellor Dr. Kristine Strickland, signed an agreement on April 4 with Parish President Gordon Dove as part of a cooperative venture.

This fall, students at Fletcher may enroll in a 40-hour intensive course that will provide greater ability to specialize in restoration work. Planners and economists have long predicted that restoration of the coast will provide a new wave of jobs to the region.

“We are excited to launch this new Coastal Workforce Training program in partnership with the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government through the RESTORE Act,” Strickland said. “This program will provide our community with opportunities to upskill and retrain for future jobs in our Parish. Our hope is that we will be able to provide a strong and vibrant local workforce for many of the upcoming projects coming to the Bayou Region.”

Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012, the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf States Act was passed by Congress as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which crippled fishing and oil and gas exploration, and severe environmental damage.

Under the act, civil penalties paid by companies under provisions of the Clean Water Act go into a trust fund. The money is split between emergency response needs, and divided among the five gulf states specifically for restoration activities. Other directives exist for breakdowns of the finances and where they should be directed.

The agreement signed by Strickland and Dove will allow money that Terrebonne receives to be pumped into the program.

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