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Officials praise Baker workforce program

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BAKER, La. (AP) — More than 130 students have completed skilled trade classes in welding, electrical, millwright, pipefitting and water operations since the Baker Workforce Development Center opened in January.

Officials told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1r5zbGo ) it's the kind of program that should be replicated around the state.

The center, operated by Baton Rouge Community College, now enrolls about two dozen men and one woman, all of whom are working on skills they hope will net them high-paying jobs in the upcoming industrial boom officials are touting.

The building underwent extensive remodeling thanks to a cooperative effort of businesses and local, state and federal governments, Baker Mayor Harold Rideau said.

Students meet in two classrooms and hone their skills on machinery in the large, un-air-conditioned garage bays.

"It was a lot of work — we've been working on this thing for a year and a half," Rideau said to a small, perspiring audience gathered in front of the building.

"For 35 years, I did machinist-millwright work; I did instrument electrical work; I did pipefitting work," Rideau said. "I know how important this is, and it is important that we do it, and I thank God for this opportunity."

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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