San Jacinto College opens LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology

San Jacinto College opens LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology
Published: 19 September 2019 - 3 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
San Jacinto College marked the grand opening of the new LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology (CPET) on 18 September, with more than 350 elected officials, industry partners, community members, faculty, and staff.

The ceremony revealed LyondellBasell as the facility’s naming rights partner, honouring the company’s generous $5mn donation and their support in helping to develop the facility’s curriculum, aligning with LyondellBasell’s strong commitment to workforce development.

The training facility is located at 7901 W. Fairmont Parkway, on the College’s Central Campus, placing it square in the heart of the largest petrochemical manufacturing complex in the United States, where 90 companies operate 132 plants within a 13-mile radius of the college’s facility.

As a top 10 community college in the US and the country’s second-largest producer of process operator graduates, San Jacinto College plays a vital role in helping the region maintain its status as the ‘Energy Capital of the World’. The new technologically advanced centre will enhance the college’s ability to provide unrivalled, hands-on training in real-world labs, designed with current industry needs in mind.

“This building has been many years in the making,” says San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr Brenda Hellyer. “It is a true collaborative effort between industry and higher education. Many of our industry partners served on our advisory council, steering committees, and sub teams to provide insight and expertise on everything from building design, curriculum programming, and creating a safety culture to equipment and software recommendations. This facility has truly been designed by industry, for industry.”

The college’s new $60mn facility spans a 151,000-square-foot complex with a separate 8,000-square-foot, two-story process training unit, and boasts 35 custom interior labs, including a multifunctional glass pilot lab, 20 interactive classrooms, four custom workstations, advanced control rooms, and conference, training, and assembly spaces to accommodate academic, community, and industrial functions.

Students will have access to hands-on training experiences as they work toward associate degrees and industry certifications in electrical technology, environmental health and safety technology, instrumentation technology, non-destructive testing, and process technology.

As part of the centre’s offerings, the college will be expanding its contract training. Through these efforts, the college will work with companies to create customised and confidential employee training for incumbent workers, maximising the region’s ability to capitalise on the college’s new facility, faculty, and resources.

“The need for a facility like this has never been greater,” says Jim Griffin, San Jacinto College’s associate vice chancellor/senior vice president of the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology.

We are seeing a growing industry that’s investing more than $60bn in new capital locally, at the same time our baby boomers are exiting the workforce, so the workforce needs are growing along with the job opportunities. This new facility expands the college’s capabilities to bridge that gap by developing and training the industry’s current and future workforce in a technologically advanced environment, designed with industry input.”

LyondellBasell senior vice president of Americas Manufacturing Mike VanDerSnick agreed, saying: “We are a future-focused company dedicated to finding the right people for the right positions and that includes addressing one of our industry’s pressing needs, training the next generation of workers. The LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology is an example of industry, educators, and the community working collaboratively to host events and annual conferences in support of workforce development.”

Many of the region’s industry leaders also donated funding and equipment to the college’s new training centre and its related programmes, including Eaton, Emerson, Albemarle Foundation, BIC Magazine/BIC Recruiting, Dow, Evosite, Hunter Buildings, INEOS Olefins and Polymers, International Cooling Tower, Kuraray, Lubrizol, nVent Thermal Management, Olympus Corporations of the Americas, Shell Oil Company, Siemens Analytical Products & Solutions, Swagelok, and Donald Wiedemeyer – Valve World.

“Partnering with our community has always been a core value at San Jacinto College,” says board of trustees vice chair John Moon Jr. “When industry partners tell us what they need and we implement curriculum that meets both our high educational standards and their job requirement standards, the result is a positive collaboration producing skilled graduates who are seen by companies as first and foremost qualified to do the job on day one.

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