NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The non profit organization, The Nous Foundation held the inaugaural Le Forum Économique; a job fair for French speakers. The Nous Foundation promotes the continuation of French culture and the French language in Louisiana.

The job fair was held at Tulane’s Lavin Bernick Center and attended by local college students and high school students. Scott Tilton is the Executive Director of the Nouse Foundation and knows the history of Louisiana and France and believes students should take advantage of learning French to take part in bilingual opportunities and future lucrative careers.

“French not a foreign language here in Louisiana. It’s been spoken here for 300 years. Regrettably, there was a discouraging of speaking French. A lot of people lost the connection to the language. What is encouraging today, is a lot of students in French immersion schools and in classrooms are being able to see how speaking this language can give them opportunities across the world. I myself had this wonderful opportunity to use my French and work in France but then also come back to Louisiana where I still use it,” says Scott Tilton.

Over 30 businesses and organizations attended, including representatives from Québec and the French Consulate.

Jacques Baran is a cultural attaché diplomat of the French Consulate and says, “there are about five thousand students in French immersion schools in Louisiana. Coming here, they see they can use French. A recent survey showed that 63 percent of American companies need multilingual workers.”

Jaila Helaire is a senior at Lafayette High School and has been learning French since she was introduced to it through her parents. She attended the job fair looking for “internship opportunities to study abroad and for businesses to help expand the French speaking culture at Lafayette High School.”

William Acosta is also a Lafayette High School Senior and he attended the job fair to learn about future possibilities that could lead to him helping people in Venezuela, saying, “being trilingual has given me the opportunity to learn the world and many different perspectives. I grew up in Venezuela. It was a very diverse place. We have Portuguese, Spanish, African and American. When I grow up, I want to become a lawyer to help my people.”

“An event like today is really important because it shows that being bilingual is an asset. It enables you to master different culture codes. It enables you to better understand the world, which is a very fast changing world,” says Jacques Baran

Many of the companies were looking to offer either full time, part time or opportunities to study abroad. The Nous Foundation wants Le Forum Économique job fair and forum to be an annual event.