Local and state officials joined Benteler Steel/Tube directors at BPCC today to cut the ribbon on a new training facility that will provide workers for the multi-million-dollar project at the Port of Caddo/Bossier.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, BPCC Chancellor Jim Henderson and Benteler Steel/Tube Project Director Patrick Guillaume dedicated the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology at the BPCC campus.
The $22 million 65,000-square-foot training center emerged from a partnership between the State of Louisiana, Benteler and regional and local partners when Benteler announced it would create a $975 million seamless steel-tube manufacturing project two years ago at the Port, located in Shreveport. The state invested $21 million in the new center.
“This cutting-edge new center represents just one example of the many projects we are attracting here in Louisiana that continue to move our economy forward,” said Jindal “The most important aspect of this center will be the highly skilled Louisiana men and women who are going to be trained here at Bossier Parish Community College for quality jobs.”
The BPCC Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology initially will train workers for Benteler’s project and then will support training efforts for other manufacturers in the Northwest Region of Louisiana. The Benteler project, which includes a seamless steel tube facility in its first phase and a steel mill with an electric arc furnace in its second phase, will create 675 new direct jobs with an average salary of $50,000 per year, plus benefits.
“Today is not about a beautiful new building, it’s about the training going on at BPCC that will impact our economy,” said Jindal.
At BPCC, Benteler can accommodate more than 220 employees at one time in the technical training space. The facility also features 10 classrooms for lectures and presentations.
“This facility will be the game changer for every employer in manufacturing, construction, engineering and energy sectors in northwest Louisiana,” said Henderson.
“Today’s employers need employees with advanced skills. They need problem-solvers and trouble-shooters. They need employees who have savvy computer, programming and mechatronic skills,” said Henderson.
At the BPCC center, Benteler will train workers on a mock steel-tube rolling station that simulates production in the future facility in Shreveport. A computer lab, classrooms, and technical training space will be joined by forklifts, overhead cranes, programmable logic controllers and other equipment that will help prepare employees for manufacturing assignments.
“This (building) says we put our money where our mouth is and we can deliver. In Bossier Parish, we do innovate,” said President Doug Rimmer of the Bossier Parish Police Jury.
The state of the art facility and its equipment is the reason why Benteler chose to locate in Bossier-Shreveport according to Guillaume.
“Benteler is building a world class facility and we are building a world class team to run this facility,” he said. “The training it provides will build a workforce that will sustain the northwest Louisiana manufacturing industry for decades and decades to come.”
Guillaume said the facility at the Port is on track and within budget. The first phase of Benteler Steel/Tube’s project is 70 percent complete, with the company scheduled to begin production August 1, 2015. The second phase will open in 2020.
The BPCC advanced manufacturing center is part of a competitive incentive package the State of Louisiana offered Benteler to win the project. The company selected Louisiana after a lengthy, competitive site selection process that includes 13 states and more than 100 sites.
“This new multipurpose training center is the product of our local and state governments working together to make an investment in the economic future of Bossier City and Northwest Louisiana,” said Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker.
A Louisiana State University economic impact analysis estimates an additional 1,540 new indirect jobs will be created, for a total of more than 2,200 new permanent jobs. In addition, the Benteler project is creating an estimated 1,000 construction jobs.
The LSU economic analysis indicates a significant impact in Northwest Louisiana associated with the Benteler project for years to come. LSU estimates $2.7 billion in total new earnings and a cumulative economic impact of $16.2 billion will occur in the region over the next two decades, as a result of the Benteler project.
“On behalf of the GBEDF board, we are very proud to be a part of the team to locate and open this fine facility on the campus of BPCC and look forward to many years of building the next generation of workforce in north Louisiana,” said David “Rocky” Rockett, president of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation.