Baton Rouge, La. - Today, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) announced its support of ExxonMobil's recent announcement that it will move forward with a more than half-billion-dollar expansion of its polyolefins plant in Baton Rouge.
"We are looking forward to seeing our state embrace the future and continued job growth in the region," said LCTCS Board Chairman Stephen Toups. "The LCTCS Board, college leaders, faculty, and staff all stand ready to produce the skilled workers required for the ExxonMobil expansion. We look forward to continuing to drive workforce development and working with ExxonMobil during this expansion."
The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that construction on the expansion will begin this year. It is expected to add 45 permanent jobs, 20 permanent contractor jobs and support 600 temporary construction workers. The project will add a new polypropylene line with a capacity of 450,000 tons a year, a unit that will start up in 2021. The project is expected to be the largest investment ExxonMobil has made in Baton Rouge since 2010, when it spent $800 million adding an ultra low-sulphur diesel unit to its refinery.
ExxonMobil is currently in the midst of a $20 billion spending plan along the U.S. Gulf Coast. John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co., said growth in feedstock supply along with increased global demand for chemicals is driving the company's expansion in the region.
"We are glad that effort has resulted in the announcement [last Friday]," ExxonMobil spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile said. "However, there are future investment opportunities we will be considering as part of the Growing the Gulf initiative, and we hope that the current business environment will improve to help us bring future projects to Baton Rouge when we need it most."
About Louisiana's community and technical colleges:
Last year, Louisiana's community and technical colleges served and provided instruction to over 150,000 students, transferred over 15,000 students to four-year institutions across the country, and graduated more than 24,000 students - 80 percent of whom graduated with a credential in a high-demand, high income program. Our colleges have earned a national reputation as colleges of excellence and as shining examples of efficiency and productivity. In 2016, Lumina Foundation, one of the nation's most respected educational and philanthropic organizations commissioned that Louisiana has the highest percentage in the nation of working age adults who hold a high-quality post-secondary certificate and that the state's overall degree attainment rate improved from 48th to 26th in the nation.