Progress is continuing on the proposed welding training facility at the Port of West St. Mary, according to South Louisiana Community College.
Earlier this year, the Port Commission of West St. Mary announced a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to aid in constructing a welding training facility on port grounds. This will be combined with $450,000 in state capital outlay funds.
Recently, tests of the soil were completed to determine conditions for designing and constructing the facility’s foundation, parking, and other features.
The facility, SLCC says, is being built on the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal across from Metal Shark and Gulf Craft’s facility sites.The training facility will aid local companies in filling critical needs for skilled aluminum welders. South Louisiana Community College will place its instructors in the facility to run the program.
“This project is a pro-active way to help this area in a slow economy,” said Senator Bret Allain. “Aluminum boat-building has been an economic engine in this region and providing trained workers for this industry is a necessity for its growth. This training will provide much-needed jobs for my district, and I have been happy to spearhead these efforts.”
“This is our effort to reach into the future as we redefine and diversify our economy,” Representative Sam Jones added. “This is where the jobs of tomorrow manifest themselves today.”
Next steps include preliminary design work to determine the floor plan, size, and design criteria of the facility, including architectural, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing specifications.
A finalized design on the facility is expected in early 2019, with construction slated for spring/summer 2019.
“St. Mary Chamber congratulates the Port of West St. Mary for taking the initiative to build a welding training facility that will help fill the needs of our parish,” said Jo Anne Bergeron, chairwoman of the St. Mary Chamber and Donna Mayer, chamber president. “Local training means local hiring. We applaud the efforts of South Louisiana Community College for responding to our workforce issues.”