RPCC, industry partners host commissioning ceremony and ribbon cutting for Process Equipment Training Plant

Published 12:03 am Saturday, July 30, 2022

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GONZALES — River Parishes Community College (RPCC) and industry partners hosted the Commissioning Ceremony for the new Process Equipment Training (PET) Plant on Friday, July 29th at 8 a.m. at the Gonzales Campus.

The PET Plant was designed and built by local industry partners and will be used to train RPCC’s students enrolled in programs such as process technology, instrumentation and electrical technology, millwright, welding and other industry-related programs. Additionally, industry partners will be able to provide new-hire refresher training, continuing education and troubleshooting training at the site.

“The commissioning of the RPCC PET Plant is the culmination of many years of planning and collaboration with our industry partners throughout the River Region and the leadership of past college administrations. We are grateful for their engagement and investments in this project,” said RPCC Interim Chancellor Quintin D. Taylor. “This is a game changer for the college’s ability to provide workforce solutions, as the demand for skilled employees in our community is high, and the PET Plant will provide a real-world training experience that will help ensure students are prepared for work and that the college is producing highly skilled graduates in both the theory and hands on portion of training programs. Additionally, the PET Plant will be a training destination for industry across the Gulf South.”

The PET plant project began in 2014 when RPCC had a vision to provide the best hands-on process technology training in the gulf south. BASF led the way with a significant donation of equipment that followed with thousands of hours of company expertise, guidance and direction for the design and build of the project. Other partners such as Emerson, ISC and Shell joined the project early on with a total of 48 partners contributing equipment, supplies and manpower valued at over four million dollars.

“As our need for a diverse, highly skilled workforce continues to grow, the PET Plant on RPCC’s campus is critical to providing safe, hands-on training to our future and current team members right here in our local community,” said Jerry Lebold, Senior Vice President and General Manager of BASF’s Geismar, LA site. “Before a new operator or instrument technician comes to our facility, they will already have experience with a real production unit, which helps prepare them in a way we haven’t seen before. BASF’s partnership and shared vision with RPCC throughout this project makes the PET Plant truly special.”

Constructing the PET Plant is only the beginning. Students will now begin training on a remotely controlled industrial plant complete with a control room, the latest operational software, state-of-the-art electronics, pumps and valves.

Visit www.rpccpetproject.com to learn more or contact Lillie Murphy at lmurphy@rpcc.edu. 

River Parishes Community College (RPCC) is a public two-year college established in 1997 to serve the educational needs of the citizens of the River Parishes. Located in Gonzales, LA, RPCC partners with the communities it serves by providing programs for personal, professional, and academic growth. Committed to providing access, responsiveness, excellence, and quality services, RPCC is an open-admissions institution. www.rpcc.edu