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History Making Industrial Growth

Lake Charles, LA - Growth in the Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana areas is expected to help boost employment in Louisiana to an all-time high of more than 2 million jobs by 2015, despite uncertain national growth, according to a new report from Louisiana State University economists Loren Scott and James Richardson.

With $46.6 billion in industrial expansions planned in the Lake Charles area, construction jobs are expected to jump from about 6,000 now to 14,000 in 2016. This area leads the state with two-year growth projected at about 8.1 percent.

Louisiana is heading into an industrial expansion like none other in its history. $23.7 billion in industrial projects have began, or been announced.

As one of Louisiana’s largest industrial contracting organizations, Performance Contractors has been a leader in workforce training and employment. With historical industrial expansion on the horizon, local people can be the first to benefit.

Preparing a Workforce to Meet Demand

This year, Performance Contractors was awarded an Incumbent Worker Training Grant to assist with workforce development in the state of Louisiana. Since 2003, Performance has partnered with Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) in the outreach initiative “Program Partners” that supports local high-school training programs that prepare young folks for industrial careers. 

Performance outreach efforts begin by introducing students to the craft and career opportunities through school presentations, field trips to Performance Contractor facilities, and by providing financial support to students and community training programs. Some high schools offer welding as an elective, and ABC offers evening training at many venues. For kids who can’t afford the tuition, Performance Contractors sponsors scholarships. Students develop at their own pace, honing their craft and passing skills testing before moving to the next level of certification.

Hands On Training Lab 

To facilitate the most realistic training scenarios, Performance created an Industrial Welder Training Lab (IWTL) for students to practice their craft. This unique training simulator provides a series of stations and gives students the opportunity to learn fundamentals and work up to more complex skills.
The added advantage is that students get to work in a real-world environment and are trained by seasoned craftsmen who try to emulate the hustle and bustle of a professional pipe fab shop and other on-site field work. It’s a great concept, and students really benefit from the hands-on learning as well as the interaction with peers and mentors who share their interest. The IWTL has ten work stations or booths where students train using the tools and techniques they are likely to encounter as professionals.

High School Partner Program Expansion in Greater Lake Charles 

Night time classes and accelerated afternoon classes at ABC in Lake Charles are already in place. Performance Contractors is partnering with ABC to expand the program to over 70 high schools in the Greater Lake Charles area.These include:

1. Calcasieu Parish Schools
2. Jeff Davis Parish Schools 
3. Allen Parish Schools 
4. Beauregard Parish Schools 
5. Cameron Parish Schools

“We look forward to putting this together to enhance the opportunities for our high-school students... this will not only help train and create job opportunities, but it will also help educate communities about the opportunities available,” said Kirby Bruchhaus, Director of ABC, Southwest Area.

Eighteen year old Ezekiel Goldmond, a graduate of Walker High School, is well on his way to a career in welding. “It’s worth being here. I get to further my education.” There’s been a lot of positive feedback from students from all over the state. Tanner Amond of Livonia High School remarked, “Performance Contractors is an excellent company, and welding is a great career.” 

Donald Jacobs, an instructor at the Performance Industrial Welder Training Lab commented, “It’s a great opportunity. It’s the assurance that you can really make a great living, but you have to put your heart and soul into it.” One of his classes has had perfect attendance! 

“You can really tell the ones who really want it,” Jacobs said. “They’re here on time and always work hard.”

These programs are providing opportunities for young people who want to get started on an industrial career track that can support them and their future families for years to come. It’s great for people, the community, and for industry... and it’s catching on.

To find out more about how you or your organization can get involved, contact: Jeremy Cooper at jeremyc@performance-contractors.com.

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