JET Grant Provides LSCO New Equipment
Lamar State College Orange is committed to its mission of transforming lives and has received a grant to ensure the campus has the most advanced training equipment to prepare students for the workforce.
LSCO was awarded $184,908 from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant for the purchase and installation of a Custom Process Trainer. The training unit allows students pursuing careers as process operators, maintenance technicians, and pump system operators hands-on access to duplicated “real world” equipment.
Earl Geis, the college’s Program Director for Industrial/Process Technology said many students in his programs will utilize the new training unit, including those in Instrumentation, Process Technology, and Industrial Technology.
“The addition of this piece of equipment will allow our programs to expose our current and future student body to newer technology training equipment,” Geis said. “We always work to advance our program and keep our training relevant local labor needs.”
Geis said the Custom Process Trainer is a more modern version of the two training units LSCO already has on campus for use in the classroom.
“Depending on where our students go to work, every plant will have pumps and control valves and with this new unit, they’ll get to simulate operating a unit that manages technologies that they’ll see at a chemical plant,” Geis said. “It will expose operators to changing flows, pressures, and temperatures in a variety of technologies.”
He added that, like on a shift at a local industrial facility, students will train on the Custom Process Trainer as a team.
Thera Celestine, LSCO’s Director of Workforce Education, said the Texas Workforce Commission’s JET Grant is highly competitive and that being awarded the $184,908 is a huge win for the college.
Additionally, Texas Workforce Commission employment trends indicate that pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers are in high demand in Southeast Texas.
“We were able to provide data about how many people would be trained, how many employees at local industrial facilities could be trained, and how many jobs were needed,” she said of the application process. “We’re always looking to enhance an already successful program and provide more opportunities for our students in these programs.”
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, LSCO has proven track record of providing local industry with highly-trained employees. The college’s job placement rate for instrumentation is 90% and 77% for process technology.
The amount of the JET grant does not cover the entire cost of the Custom Process Trainer, but the college was able to secure an additional $6,500 from local industry partners Dow Chemical, Arlanxeo, and Chem 32.
LSCO has previously received JET grant funding for training equipment in the Industrial/Process Technology programs and nursing programs.
The Custom Process Trainer is expected to be designed, created, and on campus before Spring 2020 semester.