PASADENA, Texas – (By Michelle Leigh Smith) – The Texas Gulf Coast has $40 billion in new petrochemical plants on the way, raising concerns about whether Texas will have enough certified workers to staff them.
The coastal region boasts the largest petrochemical manufacturing complex in the United States, second largest in the world, and is home to 90 companies and 130 plants. The region is working to fill the pipeline with an increased number of certified workers due to $40 billion in announced projects and more than 50 percent of the current employee base retiring over the next few years, according to the East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA).
That need is the impetus behind San Jacinto College District’s new darling – a 145,000 SF Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology that broke ground in Pasadena on Sept. 20.
Brenda Hellyer, the fifth chancellor of San Jacinto Junior College and the first woman to hold that position, explained the need for training for the many jobs now being created by workers who are retiring or aging out.
Dr. Hellyer, who formed the Chancellor’s Petrochemical Advisory Council with members from the petrochemical industry to receive advisement on the development of the $60M facility. “From the beginning, this Center for Petrochemical, Energy, and Technology has been a collaboration with our industry partners,” she says. “We appreciate their collaboration and participation into making this the premiere training facility along the Texas Gulf Coast.”
The Center will house the College’s associate degree and certificate programs for process technology, instrumentation and analyzer technology, non-destructive testing, and electrical technology, complete with program-specific training labs, all at the central campus at 8060 Spencer Highway. It is slated to open in the fall of 2019.
The new building announcement highlighted the Economic Alliance Gulf Coast Industry Forum.
Jim Bowen, CEO of First Trust Advisors, highlighted the sessions with a presentation on his favorite topic – what makes America great. One of the most dynamic speakers in the financial world, Bowen shared his insights on the investment climate and brought positive news to the more than 850 executives from companies and organizations in the U.S. Gulf Coast region who met for a two-day conference at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Bowen’s first slide defied the naysayers who say the United States is going to hell in a handbasket. It showed the US share of the Global GDP at 24.3 %, with China at 14.8%, Japan at 5.9%, Germany at 4.5% and the U.K. at 3.9%.
He also illustrated graphics proving that both total and private job openings are on the rise. Bowen, who is also the Managing Director at First Trust Portfolios L.P., showed oil production a 2,470,662 barrels per day in the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian, with the Eagle Ford leading output per rig.
“We are the most well positioned city to fuel the world’s energy demand in the next 50 years,” says Ben Westcott, president and co-managing shareholder with Andrews Myers. “And we have the local ingenuity to pull it off.”