Dow benefits CATC Westside Campus’ industrial maintenance program

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Tom Bradley (far left), chairman of the Industry Committee, shows members of the committee one of the electrical boards that will be used for hands-on training of students in the electrical curriculum of the Industrial Maintenance program.

Westbank residents can get the training they need to get high paying, in-demand jobs at expanding area plants, thanks to a new industrial maintenance curriculum being offered at the just completed Capital Area Technical College Westside Campus in Plaquemine.

Led by The Dow Chemical Company, an industry committee including membership of both major plants and plant contractors, is working with CATC to make sure the industrial maintenance program has the equipment and tools for hands-on learning, provides students with the training required, and is helping promote the program.

Dow not only donated $1 million to the construction of the facility, it is also donating tens of thousands of dollars of industrial equipment to outfit the industrial maintenance labs. In addition, Dow’s Tom Bradley is leading the industry group that is partnering with CATC.

The industrial maintenance program will include certifications for instrumentation, electrical, pipefitting and millwright – all careers that are in demand now and in the future.

Dow is donating pumps, valves, bolts, gaskets, instrumentation, pipe, fab tables, a pipe threading machine and more. “By working with the Tech College system from the ground up, I believe we have the opportunity to develop a top flight craftsman education program – one that will develop real professionals,” noted Bradley.

Other companies with representatives on the industry committee include Axiall, ISC Constructors, Jacobs, Shintech, Turner Industries and Westgate Electrical & Instrumentation.

“We are so excited to have a new CATC, Westside campus in the Plaquemine community that will enable us to carry out our mission of training the local workforce,” said Kay McDaniel, Regional Director of CATC. “In partnership with BRCC, CATC is working closely with the Industry Steering Committee to ensure that we provide relevant training for the workforce needs of the community.”

The first classes for instrumentation and electrical start June 11, and the first classes of the pipefitting and millwright programs will begin in July.

The oil and chemical industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers, with many skilled workers retiring in the next few years as major projects ramp up across south Louisiana. According to a report by WWL-TV, LSU Economist Dr. Jim Richardson said skilled workers will be in high demand for years to come, “especially welders, electricians, pipefitters and instrumentation experts. Parts of south Louisiana could be short as many as 15,000 workers.”  Industrial maintenance positions have a beginning salary in the $50,000 range, plus benefits.

For more information on the Westside industrial maintenance program, or to register, call 225-687-5500 or go to www.mybrcc.edu/aps/cont_ed_payment/