Dow St. Charles Operations awards $18,000 in PTEC scholarships

Staff Report
June 11, 2008 at 1:35 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Operations facility in Hahnville awarded six scholarships, at $3,000 each, to graduating high school seniors and mid-career adults in the River Parishes interested in pursuing an associate degree in PTEC.

"The men and women that work in our facilities drive our innovation and growth." says Janel Pizzolato, Human Resources Site Services Leader for Dow St. Charles Operations.

"It only makes sense for Dow to create new ways to improve the quality of the local workforce."

PTEC is the standardized curriculum for a two-year associate of applied science degree that prepares students to work as process technology operators in the Louisiana chemical and oil and gas refining industries.

The program is available at the Louisiana Technical College - River Parishes Campus along with six other community and technical colleges throughout the state.

It is estimated that half of all process technology operators are over age 50 and will retire soon.

Because of the increasing number of retirements, the chemical industry needs twice the number of students currently enrolled in PTEC degree programs to meet future workforce needs

The scholarship program is part of a partnership with Career Builders of Louisiana, workforce development consultants that create collaborative initiatives between government agencies, businesses, community based organizations, and educational systems.

These partnerships ensure that residents receive the training, education and resources needed to develop the skills necessary for employment in an ever-changing work force.

Terry Simmons, executive director of Career Builders of Louisiana says scholarship programs are just one component of their holistic approach to filling the workforce pipeline.

"Strategic alliances with good corporate citizens like Dow are one piece of the workforce development puzzle" said Simmons.

"We also work to mobilize hard to reach segments of the population, enhance curriculum, create positive perceptions about working in local industries, and provide social, academic, and financial supports to residents pursuing post-secondary education."

Simmons said this years pool of applicants were among the most qualified that he's seen over the past five years. Among those chosen were mid-career adults, Anthony Hiers, Stacy Marsh, and Terrance Major, and high school graduates Jeffrey Sassin, Carl Simoneaux and Landon Sorapuru - all of Hahnville High School.

"After receiving their PTEC degree these scholarship recipients should be poised to step into an internship or maybe even long term employment with Dow" said Pizzolato.

"This program will give them the foundation to become solid process operators, and continue to improve the products and services we deliver at Dow."

Simmons agreed that the bigger picture won't be solved with one scholarship program, but he said it is part of a long term approach.

"We are looking at both immediate and long term solutions" said Simmons. "We have to take a multi-level approach to ensuring that local industry has a qualified, skilled workforce. Our local economies and our quality of life depend on it."

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