Industrial Canal Lock Training Enters Second Year

February 2002

Worker training for residents of the 9th Ward that have direct impact form the widening of the locks in the Industrial Canal has been implemented for the second year. This year's requirement, testing, and interviewing were conducted during the month of February at several sites in the 9th Ward: St. Mary's of the Angels Catholic Church, Old Pathway Baptist Church, Sanchez Center, and St. David Catholic Church.

Twenty men and women were selected t participate in a week-long orientation program the week of February 25th. They began the six weeks of basic skills training Monday, March 4th, 2002.

canal_lock_life_skills_classBasic Training is intended to address deficits in academic skills, as well as, life skills. The courses included are study skills, mathematics, introduction to hazardous materials, physical fitness, life skills, job readiness, and counseling. The trainees are in a structured classroom setting fromĀ  7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Each trainee is given several sessions of individual counseling during the first four to five weeks of the program. Friday's schedule is from 8:30 until 3:30 p.m. and includes special seminars such as environmental justice, relationship building, and field trips. Each Friday afternoon the trainees spend several hours in the Computer Lab, writing their resumes, completing their individual pages for the yearbook, and embellishing their skills in word processing and internet usage.

One major emphasis of the program is improving attendance and eliminating tardiness. Attendance problems have decreased the number enrolled at present to seventeen - sixteen (16) males, 1 (one) female. Because the trainees are provided a daily stipend throughout training, part of their disciplinary component involves deducting monetary amounts from their stipend when they are absent or tardy. The Monday collected in this manger goes into a common fund that will be presented at graduation to those who have perfect attendance for the six weeks.

Instructors and counselors for the program are consultants with professional degrees and training in their various disciplines. They monitor trainee progress in their classes or counseling sessions, and decide upon awards to be given to individuals at graduation. In addition to awards for academic achievement and excellent performance, gifts are presented to those who excel in testing during the technical phases of training. This year's graduation exercises took place Saturday, June 8, 2002 at Vincent's City Cafe in the Lake Forest Plaza.

Contact Info: Dr. Myra M. Lewis, Assistant Director, Xavier University of Louisiana, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, 504.304.3323.

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