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Performance Contractors Trains Veterans for a New Career

Performance Contractors recently launched a new program near Fort Polk, Louisiana. The program is designed to help service members transitioning back into civilian life gain the necessary skills for not only a new job, but a new career.

Performance Contractors reveres our nation's veterans. We recognize their distinguished military values, commitment to our country and promise of excellence. Performance Contractors is actively seeking military professionals who are looking for a career in industrial construction.

All soldiers go through a transition program at the end of their service called the Army Career & Alumni Program (ACAP), which teaches skills to better prepare them for their life after the military.

The soldiers must complete the ACAP program within their last year of service. The course is beneficial to soldiers because it teaches skills that they may be very unfamiliar with, as they are not used in a military career. These lessons include job hunting, interviewing techniques, and employ-ability traits. It also teaches them how to translate their diverse military experience and training into a proper, effective civilian resumé.

As part of the program, the ACAP invites local and national companies to post job openings in the center and to come speak to the classes about their industry and company. This is a good chance for the transitioning soldiers to learn about a career or field that they may have not previously been aware of and to see what employers are looking for in a candidate. 

David Theriot, an Army Veteran himself, is the head of Military Workforce Development in Performance Contractors' training department. He visits classes at Fort Polk’s ACAP regularly, educating them about the many opportunities in industrial construction and the unique benefits of a career with Performance Contractors. Theriot was also instrumental in creating a welding training program to service Veterans in the area. 

“Recruiting and training Veterans is important to me because it’s a way we can give back to those who have given so much,” Theriot said. “I help transitioning soldiers and Veterans, match their skills and values with training and opportunities at Performance for a fruitful career.” 

Theriot is currently working on over a dozen programs in Louisiana alone, including the ACAP in Fort Polk, the Lamar Salter Training (welding) Classes, the Army Pays program and many more. He is also working with programs in Mississippi, Alabama, Nebraska and Texas.

Performance has taken the initiative to help Veterans by offering specific training to those seeking careers in industrial construction. This training is for both beginners and experienced welders who need to hone their skills. Welding in the military is very different than welding in an industrial setting. Though the basic principles are the same, there are new processes that need to be learned before going to the job site.

The program that Performance began this year is only initially offering welding training, but will grow to include other trades soon. Successful completion of the program will result in an entry level career at Performance Contractors and will open many doors in the company.

“We will be adding pipe fitting, millwright and electrical and instrumentation (E&I),” Ernest “Demp” Suchanek, Regional Human Resources Manager for Performance Contractors said. “Our overall goal is to offer training outside of welding and to focus on other crafts.”

The program was first offered this summer.
It was an eight week course held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5‐9pm at the Lamar Salter campus of Central Louisiana Technical College. The students continued fulfilling their military duties during the day while training for a career at night.

“The Lamar Salter campus seemed to be the perfect place due to its location.” Suchanek said. 

The facility is conveniently located in Leesville, near DeRidder and Fort Polk, which makes it very accessible to military personnel . 

After completing the first hands-on course, 15 students will now either continue to the fall semester that starts in August, or begin working for Performance, depending on each individual student’s progress and background in the craft. 

Some students have experience prior to the course, while others do not. Those who do, can typically work for Performance as a structural welder with only one semester completed. Those who do not have experience usually take the full four semesters before working for the company, and many can become entry level helpers for Performance after the first semester. 

Structural welding takes a full two semesters for those new to the craft, while stick pipe welders must complete three semesters, and pipe welders, the full four. 

“Fort Polk was key in developing veteran relationships,” Suchanek explained. 
SFC Frank Notaro will separate from the Army at the end of this month after 24 years of service. 
“I heard about the welding opportunity from David Theriot, and I decided to jump on it,” Notaro said. 
Notaro just completed the summer course and will go on to the next course at the end of August in hopes of becoming a structural welder for Performance. 

Performance hopes to recruit Veterans and current Guard and Reserves to their team with the goal of developing them into the leaders of tomorrow. This essential training will open doors for all who participate in it. 

Performance Contractors holds the key to your next career and to your future. 

For more information on how to participate in Performance’s welding program, military members can contact David Theriot at 225-215-8363 and non-military can contact "Demp" Suchanek at 337-558-3027. More info can also be found at