University of New Orleans engineering professor Norma Jean Mattei has been elected president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers for 2016. When she becomes president in 2017, she will be only the third woman in the 163-year history of the organization to hold the post.

She will be inducted as president-elect at the group’s annual business meeting in New York City in October.

“I’m very excited to lead ASCE into the future,” said Mattei, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “The focus of my tenure will be on leadership as the society moves forward with the strategic initiatives of modernizing our critical infrastructure so necessary for economic health, promoting engineering solutions that are sustainable and revamping civil engineering educational requirements for professional licensure in order to better protect the public that we serve.”

Mattei has served ASCE for more than 20 years in local, regional and national leadership roles.

In 2012, she was named one of three civilian members of the Mississippi River Commission, which oversees the drainage basin that covers 41 percent of the nation.

Mattei is a licensed professional engineer and was a design and project engineer in the New Orleans area from 1982 to 1989. She has been a UNO faculty member since 1995.

ASCE represents more than 146,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 174 countries. Founded in 1852, it is the nation’s oldest engineering society.

Delgado breaks ground on new campus

Delgado Community College broke ground recently on its new River City Campus and the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence in the Churchill Technology and Business Park.

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission celebrated the groundbreaking of the campus, a $27 million project slated to open in 2017.

The 10.5-acre River City Campus will offer courses tailored to meet the region’s workforce needs. Training programs will support commerce along the Mississippi River including transportation and logistics, engineering and automotive technology.

The Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, which will be housed within the River City Campus, will focus on creating a skilled workforce to support industries investing in the region. Courses will focus on skills such as welding, precision machining, electrical engineering technology, electronics service technology and industrial maintenance.

The River City Campus is the newest addition to the Churchill Technology and Business Park, a growing asset in the Fairfield area on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. Now anchored by the JEDCO Administrative Complex, the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy, the JEDCO Conference Center and the Business Innovation Center, the park offers 500 acres of land for a variety of growth opportunities.

New workforce law targets funds for youth

The Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, a new federal law that will provide more funding for job training and adult education, could benefit local youth, according to a report released by the Tulane University Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives. The report was created in partnership with Baptist Community Ministries and the New Orleans Business Alliance.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, targets “opportunity youth,” or young adults aged 16-24 who are neither in school nor working.

“There is a significant gap between the skills of New Orleans’ workforce and those required by the jobs that are, and will become, available,” said Cowen Institute policy director Vincent Rossmeier. “The New Orleans region has the third-highest estimated rate of opportunity youth in the nation, and the funds from this new law can help provide services to these young people.”

The law will provide funding to states to implement plans for dividing the money among local workforce investment boards.

Youth will be better able to receive services under the new legislation. Services will be prioritized for out-of-school youth and those with the lowest skills.