River Parishes Community College is continuing to expand its main campus in Gonzales. On Friday, November 12, 2021 at 9:30 a.m., the college held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Process Equipment Trainer (PET) Plant. This state-of-the-art training plant is a full-sized working production unit being built where students can safely learn on a fully functioning plant. RPCC is investing $3.5 million in the construction of the plant and industry partners have contributed another $1.5 million in equipment, services, and donations. The PET Plant is intended to drive careers in process technology, instrumentation and electrical technology, industrial maintenance, craft trades, and renewable resources.
“Today we took one giant step forward in this long-awaited journey of building a PET plant on RPCC’s Gonzales Campus”, stated Dr. Jim Carlson, Interim Chancellor. “This world-class plant will offer students and industry partners a real-world experience as a fully functional unit. More importantly, RPCC students and industry partners will be able to train in work-based learning experiences that they will see in a plant environment. I would like to thank our industry supporters, for helping make this investment in our college community.”
“Today is a great day for River Parishes Community College and our business partners in the River Parishes Region. This groundbreaking is the culmination of years of planning and collaboration. Once complete, the PET Plant will deliver real-time and relevant workforce training opportunities to the citizens of this great community, a community I call home. It will provide training for students which will help prepare them for good-paying family sustainable careers in Renewable Energy sectors. The partnership with ABC and GNO, Inc. will also strengthen the college’s ability to provide a holistic experience for students. I look forward to the impact this project will have on the region’s workforce, but most importantly the impact it will have on the lives of our students, said Dr. Monty Sullivan, LCTCS President.”
"BASF is proud to partner with RPCC and the other companies who have contributed to the PET Plant, which has truly been a community build,” said Jerry Lebold, Senior Vice President and General Manager of BASF’s Geismar site. “With the many manufacturing career opportunities available in our region, hands-on training is vital to developing our current and future workforce, and the PET Plant will offer a safe, real-world experience of plant operations and maintenance.”
“ISC has been committed to supporting RPCC from the start of this project as we recognize the value the PET facility can bring to ensure a highly trained industrial manufacturing workforce,” said Jerry Rispone, ISC’s Co-founder and CEO. “ISC was able to leverage comprehensive engineering solutions and industry-leading construction expertise to ensure quality training opportunities and rewarding career paths are available to tomorrow’s workforce. We are honored to play a critical role in making this project a reality and continue to remain committed to providing the most technical engineering and construction solutions to manufacturers.”
The RPCC PET Plant construction project should be completed in late spring with a commission date set for mid-summer 2022. The College’s vision for this community build is to bring together stakeholders in the region to construct a fully operational plant that will be used to train future operators, instrumentation technicians, millwrights, welders, and so many others interested in pursuing technical careers in local industry.