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Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative Completes Over 7,500 Trainings

July 27, 2007 Business Roundtable's Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative (GCWDI) today announced that it is ahead of schedule in its effort to recruit and train up to 20,000 new construction workers in the Gulf Coast region by the end of 2009. The program provides critically needed new construction workers in the Gulf Coast and empowers the region's workforce with new educational opportunities and career paths.

"Just over a year into our ambitious program, we already have over 7,500 training completions, with another 2,000 students enrolled in classes," said Charles O. Holliday, Jr., chairman and CEO of DuPont, and co-chairman of the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative. "Residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have embraced our free classes, demonstrating the vitality of the region and the residents' fierce desire to rebuild. We're so encouraged by the success thus far that we hope to step up recruiting efforts and expand into Alabama as well."

The GCWDI was conceived and developed by Business Roundtable in response to the devastating storms that ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States in late 2005. Members of Business Roundtable, 160 CEOs of the nation's leading companies, have spearheaded this public-private partnership by committing up to $5 million in funding to coordinate the training and assist in recruiting participants.

"This unique initiative is bringing together numerous government agencies, community and trade organizations, academic institutions and the business community to give up to 20,000 people the skills needed for rewarding, long-term careers in construction," said Riley Bechtel, chairman and CEO of the Bechtel Group, Inc. and co-chairman of the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative. "The graduates are already becoming strong contributors to the Gulf Coast's rebuilding efforts and infrastructure development projects."

Read the full Business Roundtable press release here.