Nunez Community College Unveils Coastal Studies and GIS Technology Program

Image by NASA Earth Observatory, posted by phys.org.

NEW ORLEANS – Nunez Community College, in partnership with St. Bernard Parish Government’s Coastal Division, announced in a press release the addition of Coastal Studies and GIS Technology to its program offerings.

During a conference held in the Kane Technology Center on Nunez’s campus, Dr. Tina Tinney, chancellor of Nunez Community College, was joined by guests who spoke about the program creation, workforce needs in the region, relevance of the program, and the coastal work underway within the region and state. On hand to share information were St. Bernard Parish President, Guy McInnis, Lacy McManus, GNO Inc. Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and Greg Grandy, Deputy Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Dr. Tinney also recognized those instrumental in the creation of the new academic program including John Lane, St. Bernard Parish coastal manager; Jerry Graves, St. Bernard Parish coastal advisor; Martin Mantz, Nunez Coastal Studies program manager; Dr. Lane Nevils, Nunez dean of academics; Tonia Loria, Nunez vice-chancellor of academics and the faculty that comprise the Nunez curriculum committee.

The program is grant funded by St. Bernard Parish Government’s Coastal Division through the Restore Act.

In addition to hearing the thoughts of key players in the project, guests had the opportunity to tour the newly created lab space for the Coastal Studies program and interact with the drone and GIS technology being used to train students in the field.

The Coastal Studies and GIS Technology program prepares students for coastal careers with a focus on GIS technology skills and instruction in coastal and environmental science. The program blends instruction in technical skills, regulatory information, and science to produce individuals who have valuable skills to apply to the sector and have a thorough understanding of the complicated problems of the environment and to be informed advocates for coastal stewardship as a part of innovative solutions.

The program has three success levels:

  • Certificate of Technical Studies in Coastal Geospatial Information Science focuses on GIS technology and the ability to apply it in coastal related jobs.  Students completing this certificate have an in-demand skill and are employable as survey and mapping technicians.
  • Technical Diploma in Coastal Studies and GIS Technology adds coursework in coastal science and regulation important to understanding the permitting process. A block of approved electives allows students to choose training in both technical and construction skills.
  • Associate of Applied Science Degree in Coastal Studies and GIS Technology adds 15 hours of related general education courses in Math, Composition, History, and Social Sciences.

Upon completion of each level, students will have the skills and knowledge to gain entry-level employment, as well as an incident-based event, and ongoing projects in coastal restoration projects supported by Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national outlook for this position is an increase of 11-percent, which is higher than the national average of 7-percent. Projections Central lists the increase in employment at 14.2% with an average of 160 job openings annually in the state of Louisiana.  In Louisiana, the mean hourly wage is $19.88 and the annual mean salary is $41,560 with the New Orleans – Metairie urban area, in which St. Bernard Parish is located, having an average salary of $44,180 which is the highest within the state.

GNO, Inc. was proud to support the creation of this program through the GNOu initiative. GNOu is a demand-driven workforce development program, coordinated by GNO, Inc. for the benefit of the economy, higher education and the community. Through GNOu, GNO, Inc. provided Nunez workforce data, occupational profiles and labor projections for coastal restoration in the Greater New Orleans region. GNO, Inc. also coordinated a roundtable session with over a dozen coastal industry partners and employers to inform the curriculum of this program.

 

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