BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Bigger and better jobs are opening up in north Baton Rouge, and Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) is training people to fill them.
It is part of the North BR Industrial Training Initiative that comes at zero cost to students.
Andy Arceneaux, a welding instructor at BRCC, works closely with students to help fine tune their skills. They work diligently in their booths to mold a unique creation from scraps of metal. Arceneaux said it can be a meticulous process.
"Keeping them motivated is an important thing, letting them concentrate on what they are doing right and not what they are doing wrong," Arceneaux said.
The students are working toward a certification and career that, Arceneaux said, really pays off. Most start off making $30 to $35 an hour. Through the North BR Industrial Training Initiative, 60 lucky students will get to train for free in the electrical, pipefitting, and welding fields.
Girard Melancon, BRCC's executive director for Workforce Education, said all applicants will go through a rigorous selection process which includes a background check, aptitude test, and drug screen.
"They'll have their basic training and work ethic safety to grow in the field. Our ultimate goal is for them to be placed with one of the sub-contractors and then continue training while they are employed with those contractors," Melancon said.
ExxonMobil is one of several industrial partners in the north Baton Rouge corridor looking to hire students who succeed in the program. The company's public and government affairs advisor, Lana Venable, said the jobs are waiting.
"We've got people who are retiring and we really need to fill those spaces. We need people who are qualified, trained, and these are great paying jobs," Venable said.
Graduates may start off welding, but the continuing education through the program puts them in line for better-paying jobs in advanced positions like supervising. It is how their instructor said he got his start, and he hopes to help shape their careers.
State money covers the cost of training. BRCC is hosting an open house on October 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the BRCC's Acadian campus. It will be held on the second floor of the Student Activity Center. For more information, contact Girard Melancon at (225) 907-3887.