Louisiana launches ‘Open Waters’ to create more jobs in the maritime industry

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana River Pilots Association is launching Open Waters – a new initiative that creates jobs, education and opportunity in the maritime industry.

“Louisiana ranks first in the nation for the economic impact of the maritime industry,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. “It’s no exaggeration to say that America feeds most of the world. Sixty percent of that comes right by that river.

The goal is to recruit a diverse workforce and provide an opportunity for all people from different backgrounds.

Louisiana Rep. Ted James said there aren’t enough people of color in an industry that promises a comfortable income.

“We are going to offer an opportunity to provide access and exposure. And that’s something all people of color need. We don’t need handouts. We need access, we need information, we need exposure because young people imitate what they see,” he said.

Employment opportunities will expand throughout Louisiana. The industry is responsible for one in five jobs in the state. These jobs include ship operators, marine terminal shipyards, and river pilots.

According to the Louisiana River Pilots Association, Open Waters will meet face-to-face with citizens, stakeholders and potential career candidates, delivering a maritime industry roadshow to Louisiana classrooms and community centers.

“In the last legislative session, River Pilots made a commitment to educate African Americans and other minorities about the growing number of career opportunities in Louisiana’s maritime industry,” said the River Pilot captain. Lee Jackson, CEO of Jackson Offshore Operators. “To keep pace with this industry, it’s important to develop additional talent, and the drivers will lead the way.”

More information on the initiative is available here.