Petrochemical consortium partners with Victoria College for $1.8 million job-training grant

Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar and Victoria College President Dr. Tom Butler display the $1,825,385 check that will create or upgrade 618 jobs in the Crossroads region.

A petrochemical consortium has partnered with Victoria College to provide job training using a $1.8 million Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The businesses partnering in the grant include Alcoa Inc., E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., Formosa Plastics Corp., INEOS USA LLC, Seadrift Coke LP and Union Carbide Corp./a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co.

The grant will be used to train 618 workers for industry-recognized certifications related to process efficiency, quality production and safety. Those trained will include plant operators, engineers and technicians. Upon completion of training, the workers will earn an average hourly wage of $33.10.

In presenting the $1,825,385 grant, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said community colleges are “extremely important” to the economy.

“It's not possible for Texas to have the best economy in the United States without the contributions of our community colleges,” Alcantar said. “Victoria College President Dr. Tom Butler and his team do a wonderful job in doing the extra work required to achieve these grants, because they don’t go to everyone. This is one of the biggest ones we’ve done in the past year.”

Alcantar said Victoria College is focuses on different industries and populations while working with veterans and other colleges to come up with ideas on how to move forward.

“I'm really happy that we've been able to add 275,000 jobs in Texas over the past year,” he said. “We've seen the impact of the oil and gas industry in our communities and how that is helping manufacturing. All that opportunity offers challenges because our communities are very different. Some are growing, some have been relatively flat in terms of population and some are tapped out even with the growth in terms of available workforce. We need to come up with very clever solutions and respond to these different circumstances."

Butler thanked his VC staff, saying it was a lot of work putting a complex grant together and managing it after goes into effect. He said the grant is “worth every penny because they are part of the growth of our community and the economic development of our community. The end result is that we'll have a better trained workforce than we do now."

Kelly Felchak, of INEOS USA LLC, said the grant will help keep company training costs down.

“Oftentimes, we only have one person who needs to attend a class and it costs us an arm and leg to send that person off” for training, Felchak said. “With this grant, we will be able to bring an instructor here to the site. We do the technical training we need, and we get to interact with the grant people and their staff.”

This is the fourth grant VC has received in partnership with regional petrochemical consortium. Victoria College has been awarded more than $9.2 million in Skills Development Fund grants and has been recognized for its management of those grants given by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Published: Thursday, 10 October 2013

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