A Good Deal All Around
Recent growth is helping Delgado Community College offer more locals an affordable — and useful — education, while helping industries tackle workforce development.
Education that works.”
That’s the motto of Delgado Community College, and it is one that the college’s multiple campuses in and around New Orleans have worked hard to live up to.
Founded in 1921, Delgado is the state’s second largest-college and now educates more than 17,000 students each semester. It has the highest enrollment among all colleges and universities in New Orleans, and the second-highest in Louisiana.
Along with offering associate’s degrees and transferable college credits, Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in dozens of professional and technical areas such as nursing, business and management, accounting, radiologic technology, criminal justice, computer information technology, culinary arts, elementary education through fifth grade and motor vehicle technology. All of which help build the city’s workforce.
Individual workforce non-credit programs at Delgado are accredited by industry-specific accrediting agencies. Delgado has about 15,000 additional students who are enrolled in these workforce development programs.
“I wanted to try a community college because it often has more diversity and wider age ranges,” says Kate Lickert, a 27-year old student. “I am taking a variety of courses this fall from business to music classes to an education course. Last semester I tried real estate, but it wasn’t for me. Delgado offers personal enrichment and definitely is helping me decide my career path, and it is so affordable.”
Decades of Growth
Since the early 1970s, thanks to state funding for students and facilities, not only has the original City Park campus developed substantially, but other new campuses and learning sites have brought Delgado Community College to all areas of metropolitan New Orleans. The college currently offers instruction online and at nine locations around the New Orleans region (see sidebar).
Delgado has also been successful in finding funding to grow its programs and campuses. Last year the college was awarded $2.5 million as part of a $7 million workforce development grant called the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant. The grant aims to educate veterans, displaced workers, unemployed and underemployed adults for good-paying, high-skilled jobs.
This iniative is helping prepare local workers with the skills needed for in-demand careers and will spur economic growth preparing students for high-paying jobs with manufacturing and energy companies in southeast Louisiana such as Laitram and Lockheed Martin.
Teaming Up with Business
Delgado collaborates with many businesses to customize programs to fit specific business needs. Last year, the college teamed with Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 250 company with 2013 sales of $12 billion, to create a new workforce development initiative that supports educational opportunities and career possibilities for welders in Louisiana.
New Orleans needs an estimated 35,000 skilled craft workers to grow the industrial construction workforce and 51,300 to replace construction workers expected to leave the industry through 2016. The Praxair Skills Pipeline program provides more than $300,000 to train 100 new welders in an accelerated one-year curriculum in Louisiana as well as support for instructorships, continuing education and professional development.
Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in dozens of professional and technical fields.
“Our teachers are committed to what they teach,” says Tony S. Cook, Delgado’s public relations and marketing director. “They are the best in their fields. They are experts and they know what they’re teaching because they have been there and done that.”
In another partnership, Delgado, with funding from The GE Foundation, began to solve the problem of a shortage of experience skilled laborers in water infrastructure.
According to the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, nearly 40 percent of the Sewerage and Water Board workforce is nearing retirement eligibility. The GE Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to support Delgado’s ongoing efforts to train hundreds of certified water infrastructure personnel to work at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.
Building on these successes, Delgado is also creating opportunities to connect with industry sectors identified in a report by Prosperity NOLA, including growing opportunities in bioinnovation, health services, transportation and trade logistics, advanced manufacturing, digital media, and sustainable industries.
Funding Equals Expansion
During the 2013 legislative session, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed ACT 360 into law. This allowed for the sale of $251.6 million dollars in bonds to provide for 29 community and technical college facility projects throughout the state. A private match requirement of 12 percent will bring that total to $286 million.
Delgado has used and is using this funding to fund the following: an extension to its Blair Campus in Metairie, a Hospitality and Culinary Center in New Orleans, a Nursing and Allied Health Campus in New Orleans, and an Advanced Manufacturing Center in Avondale at its River City campus.
In late May, Delgado Community College and the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission celebrated the groundbreaking of Delgado’s new River City site and the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence in the Churchill Technology and Business Park.
This state-of-the-art $27.3 million educational facility will serve more than 3,000 students via 85,000 square feet designed to accommodate training programs to support commerce along the Mississippi River including engineering, transportation and automotive technology. The Advanced Manufacturing Center will also teach courses such as welding, electronic service technology and industrial maintenance. The new campus is expected to open in spring 2017.
Early in August, the new Delgado Sidney Collier site was completed at a cost of $21 million — $12 million provided through the state of Louisiana and $9 million through FEMA. Located in the Desire-Florida area of New Orleans, between Gentilly and the Ninth Ward, it replaces the former Louisiana Technical College Sidney Collier campus, which was demolished after Hurricane Katrina.
The site features two brick, two-story structures linked by a colonnaded main entrance facing the corner of Louisa Street and Higgins Boulevard. The state-funded part of the site includes 36,000 square feet of space for classrooms, laboratories, workshops, offices and support functions such as information technology.
The federally funded part offers an additional 25,000 square feet dedicated to student services, including a library and student government offices, as well as an Answer Center, testing and tutoring center, student lounge and game room. The site’s design includes a courtyard and has approximately 100,000 square feet of landscaped grounds and parking.
Another addition resulting from Hurricane Katrina improvements is the 60,000-square-foot, one-story Marvin E. Thames Sr. Learning Resource Center located on the City Park campus. Set to open this fall, the estimated $14 million center will include reference and periodical collections, as well as a Louisiana Collection of College Archives, administrative offices, computer classrooms and computer labs.
Delgado currently serves 17,000 through its for-credit programs and 15,000 through its non-credit, industry specific workforce development programs. Shown here are students of HVAC (left) and industrial maintenance (right).
Recently breaking ground is the new Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center. Like the Thames Learning Resource Center, this 18,750-square-foot building was designed by Sizeler/Thompson/Brown Architects of New Orleans. The builder is The Lemoine Co. of New Orleans. State bonds authorized through Act 391 also funded this $7 million project. Completion is expected by February 2016.
The maritime center is located on the site of the existing facility at 13200 Old Gentilly Road. This division of Delgado has earned a national and international reputation for providing high-quality maritime and industrial firefighting, radar, safety and U.S. Coast Guard-approved training, including full-mission bridge-simulator courses.
“We work with between 8,000 to 10,000 people per year,” says Rick Schwab, director of Delgado’s Maritime, Fire, Radar and Industrial Training Facility.
For example, the school provides training to licensed mariners and industry personnel in the maritime, oil and gas, and safety and homeland security fields. It has more than 30 instructors and offer more than 100 courses. It also provides numerous opportunities for industry workers to earn recertification and help them retain and renew their licenses.
“We work to improve programs for the offshore and inland maritime industry. We offer continuing education and help people define clear career paths,” says Schwab. “We are very proud of our staff — with all the state’s budget cuts to education, we remain the preferred choice of vendors.”
Now as part of this effort, Delgado is expanding the Maritime, Fire, Radar and Industrial Training program and building a new modern state-of-the-art facility. On April 24, Delgado broke ground for a $5.8 million, 20,000-square-foot building. Once again it’s designed by Sizeler/Thompson/Brown Architects and will be constructed by Lemoine Co.
“Delgado is accessible both in price and because its many locations,” says Cook. “We give students an opportunity to test the waters. We give them an opportunity to take the first big step to a better life, and we are affordable.”
Delgado Community College tuition is $2,992 per year for in-state residents — 8 percent cheaper than the national average public two-year tuition of $3,263. The average for two-year colleges in Louisiana tuition is $7,246.
Two-thirds of students graduating from American colleges and universities are graduating with some level of debt. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, the average borrower will graduate $26,600 in the red. It’s a negative sum for both students and the economy.
“As a New Orleanian who’s lived here all my life, I can’t imagine New Orleans being successful without Delgado,” says Stanton F. McNeely III, vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement at Delgado. “We are the best return on investment for both the student and the community. Success in New Orleans happens because of Delgado.”
Orleans Parish Campuses
• Delgado City Park Campus
• Delgado West Bank Campus
• Delgado Charity School of Nursing
• Delgado Sidney Collier, Delgado at UNO
• Delgado Maritime, Fire and Industrial Training Facility
• Delgado Northshore (Slidell)
• Delgado Jefferson (Metairie)
• Jefferson Business and Career Solutions Center (Gretna)