Terrebonne Parish officials have launched an effort to make the parish less reliant on oil so it can better weather the industry downturns that have cost the area thousands of jobs in recent years.
The Courier reports the plan, led by the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority, seeks to strengthen the three pillars of the parish’s economy: oil and gas, seafood and agriculture, and medical services.
Economic-development officials also aim to encourage growth in other industries based on recommendations in a $70,000 study consultant Garner Economics completed last year.
The study found that Terrebonne is in a good position to grow and attract jobs in coastal restoration, aviation, food manufacturing and professional services such as engineering, accounting and law.
One specific recommendation is to start programs in conjunction with Fletcher, Nicholls and the Houma-Terrebonne Airport and Industrial Park to training workers for aviation jobs and expand into regional and national work on helicopter manufacturing and repair.
Skills used in the oilfield can be translated into coastal restoration, says TEDA CEO Matt Rookard, adding the parish needs to pinpoint ways to retrain and certify workers to make that transition.
However, Rookard stresses that TEDA’s efforts will not abandon oil and seafood to chase the prospect of new economic opportunities.