BATON ROUGE – The State Apprenticeship Council approved two programs during its August meeting held at the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s (LWC) Baton Rouge headquarters.
Morton Salt Inc., located in Weeks Island and The Alliance for Media Arts & Culture, Inc., (The Alliance), based in New Orleans, are the newest additions to the list of approved Registered Apprenticeships in Louisiana, nudging the total number of state programs up to 60. The Alliance’s program holds the distinction of the first-ever multimedia apprenticeship in Louisiana.
“The Morton Salt and Alliance programs differ considerably, which shows the beauty of modern-day apprenticeship,” said Joseph Hollins, State Director of Registered Apprenticeship. “We’re excited to welcome both programs to the LWC.”
Since 1958, Morton Salt Inc. has been a presence in Louisiana, employing some 200 workers at a rock-salt mine in Weeks Island where salt – used predominantly for de-icing roads during the winter – is mined, crushed, and transported to the surface.
Geared toward training industrial electricians and mechanics, the Morton Salt program will take place in two locations. On-the-job training will be held at the Weeks Island mine, which recently underwent a $35 million expansion to allow for a 60-percent capacity increase – or 2.3 million tons of salt – per year. Classroom instruction will take place in Loreauville at the new 7,200-square-foot industrial training center designed to serve as a hub where Morton Salt employees can regularly update their skills and knowledge base.
While the Morton Salt Inc. program will offer a somewhat conventional apprenticeship curriculum, the multimedia program represents a more nontraditional approach.
The Alliance’s program consists of Multimedia Producer and Digital Video Editor training for three New Orleans production companies: FatHappy Media, Department of Motion Pictures (Court 13), and TuckerGurl Productions. New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) will serve as the program’s training provider. The yearlong, competency-based program likely will expand over time to include other multimedia occupations and additional production companies.
“This initiative is breaking the mold for apprenticeship programs in our state,” Hollins said. “We want to let Louisianans know that apprenticeship is not just for trade occupations anymore.”
LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie said the contrast between The Alliance and Morton Salt’s programs signifies a transformation within the traditional Registered Apprenticeship model.
“Both wisdom and innovation are necessary elements of growth for any program,” Sec. Dejoie said. “Morton Salt – widely regarded as an icon – exemplifies the seasoned, time-tested standard, while the multimedia program embodies inclusion, modernization and expansion of the original apprenticeship archetype. This coexistence is changing the concept of apprenticeship in Louisiana, and the LWC is proud to serve as a conduit for that transition.”
For questions, suggestions or comments about Registered Apprenticeship in Louisiana, email ApprenticeshipLA@lwc.la.gov. To view the website, visit https://apprenticeshipla.com.