Entergy has donated $5,000 to Lamar Institute of Technology’s new commercial construction training program to help the institute prepare for the upcoming job boom in Southeast Texas.

Entergy and the Associated General Contractors of Southeast Texas have stepped forward to help LIT develop the commercial construction program, which will be launched in January 2008.

"We are very appreciative of the ongoing support of Entergy to purchase equipment for our students and hire our graduates," said President Paul Szuch, Lamar Institute of Technology. The $5,000 will be used to purchase equipment, Szuch said.

"We value the programs that LIT offers," said Erin Soto, Entergy Customer Service Manger. Soto presented the check to Szuch and Janet Brugger, Director of Development and Executive Director of the LIT Foundation.

"Entergy supports LIT every way we can," Soto said. "We recognize the contribution LIT is making in our community. We appreciate the skills and training LIT offers the local workforce," she said.

"This is the first contribution we have received (for the program) for equipment," said Pat O’Connor, Chair, Department of Technology.

Beaumont of the vast expansion in Beaumont and the need for skilled workers, private support for programs and student scholarships has become very important, Brugger said.  The Associated General Contractors also has played an important role in developing the program by donating scholarship money for LIT students and offering classroom space for instruction The AGC partnership was the first step in creating the new construction program. "The AGC created a partnership with LIT to develop the commercial construction degree program," Szuch said. This will increase the number of commercial construction employees within the area.

"We are happy to have such a worthy beneficiary as LIT," said Barbara Mulroy, AGC executive director. Mulroy praised LIT for its commitment to the AGC. The institute has helped industry grow by making the partnership a reality, she said.

"Since we have limited space on our campus, the AGC has agreed to provide a warehouse for LIT to conduct classes," Szuch said. The warehouse is currently under renovation. In addition to classroom space, the AGC will provide equipment needed to educate commercial construction students. "We hope to begin that program in January 2008," he said. "As far as I am concerned, it’s a dream come true," Sam Williams, acting vice president of Workforce Development, said about the partnership. "They have far exceeded our expectations."

"We are proud of our relationship with LIT," Mulroy said. The AGC has committed supplies, a 6,000 square-foot building for teaching space and instructors to educate potential new employees, Mulroy said. "When we started looking into possibly creating a construction program at LIT, we explained about the cost involved and the AGC bent over backwards to provide us a facility," O’Connor said. "They donated equipment and a facility to help us get it started."