Training the 21st Century Workforce at Lamar State College-Orange

Invista in Orange has donated both equipment and funding for the renovation of the welding center to lab space for industrial education purposes. L-R: Invista’s Raul Trochez, Kevin Herfurth; LSC-O’s Brenda Mott, Ed McKinley, Charles Mitchell ;Invista’s Butch Hoffman, Billy Knox and Rickey Fontenot.Invista in Orange has donated both equipment and funding for the renovation of the welding center to lab space for industrial education purposes.
L-R: Invista’s Raul Trochez, Kevin Herfurth; LSC-O’s Brenda Mott, Ed McKinley, Charles Mitchell ;Invista’s Butch Hoffman, Billy Knox and Rickey Fontenot.

Lamar State College-Orange Continuing Education and Workforce Education Division welcome the opportunity to expand its industrial education and training with area refineries, business partners and unions using four grants to accomplish their goals.  Two Skills Development Fund Grants provide training for incumbent workers, while the Chapter 133 Apprenticeship Training Program and the First-Line Leadership Training Program are also funded by grants. Invista generously provided equipment and tuition for an Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Training Program, along with electrical and instrumentation education.

The Skills Development Fund Grant that was awarded to LSC-O in 2010 through Texas Workforce Solutions will provide training for workers at Firestone Polymers, Lanxess, International Paper (formerly Temple-Inland) and Webco, a tubing manufacturer in Orange.  Printpack was added as a new employer partner to train industrial maintenance mechanics, and electrical and instrumentation technicians.  Another Skills Development grant was approved this year and will provide training primarily for South Hampton Resources, a refinery in Silsbee, and Donovan Trucking, a vacuum truck company in Orangefield.

Some of the training offered will be hazardous materials, mobile crane, fire brigade, industrial maintenance mechanic and vacuum truck operator.  

“We have a good working relationship with all of our grant partners,” said Edward McKinney, program director for the office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development.  “It’s a win, win situation for all of us.”

With a decline in the number of mechanics, “E&I” technicians and millwrights in the plants, due to retirement’s attrition and lack of trained personnel, the need for skilled workforce has increased.  Thus LSC-O developed two new non-credit programs to fill the need for a skilled labor force.  Due to the need for training, the LSC-O welding center is being renovated to remove welding machines and make space for labs. 

Invista has been at the forefront of this project donating equipment and tuition for incumbent workers.  The programs have been listed as Marketable Skills Awards so those completers will also count toward the college’s total completers. 

“We have established a mutual satisfying working relationship with Invista and acknowledge it would be difficult for Lamar State College-Orange to offer these classes without their support,” said McKinney.

The Chapter 133 Apprenticeship Training Program is the Local Education Agency (LEA) for the Texas Workforce Program, which provides funds to the apprenticeship training programs, known as Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATC).  The three JATCs for the 2012 fiscal year were electricians, sheet metal workers, and pipefitters.  During the upcoming fiscal year, the Houston area electrical JATC will bring their first apprentices to Chapter 133 funding, and LSC-O will become their LEA.

The First-Line Leadership (FLL) Training Program will benefit area plant managers, human resource departments and training directors who have been looking for a training program for first-line supervisors.  Some training in safety management is also desired by local industry.