Colleges do their
part to revitalize
BY BOB VIOLINO WHEN THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
offshore oil drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of
Mexico in April 2010, 11 crewmen were killed;
the accident led to the largest oil spill in U.S.
history. Forty workers on the rig managed to
escape the catastrophe, thanks largely to a safety-training program they had taken at community
colleges in the Louisiana Community and
Technical College System (LCTCS).
“They came back to express their gratitude to us,”
says Joe May, president of LCTCS. “The program allowed
these workers to know precisely what to do and how to
get out of water and find boats.”
Nearly a year later, LCTCS and other area community
colleges play a key role not only in assisting in the
massive cleanup effort, but also in containing and
preventing future disasters.
Though faded from the news cycle, the cleanup
effort—an astonishing 4. 9 million barrels of oil were
discharged during the spill—remains an enormous
undertaking involving thousands of people.
As efforts to repair the damage caused by the spill
continue (as they likely will for several more years),
community colleges will play a central role in training
workers to staff the effort. What’s more, many colleges
will be tasked with educating a new generation of oil
workers to prevent disaster from striking anew. >>
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