LSC-O Partners with Firestone-Polymers, LANXESS, Temple-Inland and Webco for $585,000 Training Grant

Lamar State College-Orange has partnered with LANXESS, Firestone-Polymers, Temple-Inland and Webco Industries to provide 329 employees 27,197 hours of workforce training. The Texas Workforce Commission awarded LSC-O $585,050 in training funds using the Skills Development Fund program.

This grant will provide training in emergency response/safety, heavy equipment operation, machine maintenance, leadership and an increased quality production to these four local employers.

“This is the largest Skills Development Fund grant awarded to LSC-O in many ways,” said Angela Reeves, LSC-O’s Workforce Development program manager. “Not only is it the dollar amount awarded, but it is our first effort to include four employers as consortia for 34 different types of training in one year.”

The training will not only boost the production and manufacturing of the four companies, but also improve training capabilities of the college. Lamar State College-Orange has been expanding its industrial education and training offerings through previous grant awards, increased student enrollment, valuable partnerships with employers, the Texas Workforce Solutions Centers and community organizations.

“A previous Department of Labor grant established a welding training center that is now equipped to teach various types of welding techniques, and a Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) grant funded the purchase of a Hands-On-Training (HOT) unit,” said Dr. Michael Shahan, president of Lamar State College-Orange.

The HOT unit is housed in the college’s new Industrial Education building that replaced its previous building destroyed by Hurricane Ike. The new building is located on 4th street next to the college’s Wilson Building. It consists of classrooms with computers loaded with simulated worksite situations that train in troubleshooting and responses, and other hands-on simulated models.

“LANXESS is dedicated to its employees and its community, and this grant provides the opportunity to invest in each,” said Markus Linke, LANXESS plant manager. “With these funds, 212 new and current employees will receive additional leadership, emergency responder, and cause analysis training, enhancing the safety, security and quality of our Orange (Texas) facility.”

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with approximately 14,500 employees in 23 countries. The Orange facility produces high-performance synthetic rubbers used in a variety of everyday applications, including tires, golf balls, shoe soles, timing belts and automotive hoses and seals.

“The Orange Plant of Firestone Polymers welcomes the opportunity to participate with other area companies and Lamar State College-Orange in providing training and education to their employees through participation in this grant,” said Randy Echols, Firestone Polymers’ manager of human of resources. It provides Firestone Polymers, as well as other area companies, the opportunity to provide excellent training to benefit our employees in their work careers and add value to the operation of the Orange Plant.”

Firestone Polymers is a leader in the manufacturing of synthetic rubber for use in the plastics, chemical and tire industries.

The grant will be used to provide OSHA and safety training for supervisors, Microsoft certification training for the IT department, as well as be used to develop the instructor, incident commands, and response skills of the Emergency Response team leaders. It will also help to develop and upgrade the millwright and industrial maintenance skills for maintenance workers, and provide quality improvement skills to operators and supervisors.

Precision maintenance, leadership, CPR and heavy equipment operation summarize the training programs that will be conducted by Temple-Inland during the grant period. Temple-Inland is the third largest producer of corrugated packaging and manufactures a wide array of building products and industrial panels at 16 facilities in the United States. These products include lumber, particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), gypsum wallboard and fiberboard products. The plant in Orange employs approximately 360 sustained workers and has been an important employer for this region.

“Webco values creativity and innovation and is committed to continuous improvement of our organization through growth and education of our employees,” said Laura Brewer, Webco Industries operations manager. “We are grateful for the opportunity this grant provides. It is an excellent opportunity for us to invest in our most valuable asset – our people.”

Webco is a manufacturer and supplier of specialty and pressure tubing products. The Orange facility is a self-distribution operation that processes between one-to-two million feet of tubing per month and employs 41 people. In-depth training will be funded for computerized preventive maintenance to improve scheduled maintenance and distribution of their products as well as training for drivers and OSHA safety education for employees.

“One of the outcomes required by the Texas Workforce Commission is that capacity-building activities are included for the community college partner,” explained Reeves. “It provides the purchase of classroom instruments, instructor training, multi-media curricula and credentialing. This raises the overall quality of LSCO’s workforce training.”

Since 1996, Skills grants have helped 3,263 employers create 76,191 jobs and upgrade the skills of 208,630 workers. The program is a collaborative effort that brings together employers, colleges, economic development agencies and local workforce agencies.

LSC-O’s Continuing and Workforce Education Department is in the beginning phase of its 2012 Skills Development Fund proposal submission. Companies can inquire of their eligibility for these funds or the Skills For Small Business training funds (available to businesses who have fewer than 100 employees) by calling 409-882-3321, or visit the Texas Workforce Commission website at