Ushering the workforce: Ribbon cut on Fletcher’s $8M IPT program

Graves, Claudet to be honored for coastal work
March 26, 2014
BP rep offers 20-year outlook
March 26, 2014
Graves, Claudet to be honored for coastal work
March 26, 2014
BP rep offers 20-year outlook
March 26, 2014

With Fletcher Technical Community College’s designation as the Deepwater Center for Excellence, many students will pass through the new BP Integrated Production Technology building in Schriever on their way to oil and gas jobs that are in high demand.

The new home of Fletcher’s Integrated Production Technologies program was made possible through a $4 million investment from BP and a $4 million match from the State of Louisiana.

But it was more than a celebration of bricks and mortar at the ribbon cutting last Friday for the state-of-the-art offshore energy training facility. The ceremony brought together local legislators, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Fletcher faculty and students who are optimistic about the outlook for jobs after graduation.

Dustin Dubois enrolled in the IPT program because of his family roots in Bayou Lafourche and the oil and gas industry’s influence in that part of the state.

Instead of going into the field immediately after graduating high school, Dubois knew it would benefit him to get an education and background of what is expected in the field.

“In some kind of way every family is affected by the oil field, and I took the opportunity to realize that if I want to stay around here it would be a good idea to go into the field,” Dubois said.

Dubois is on track to graduate during the summer and looks forward to taking advantage of what time he has left to learn in the building.

Students are expected to occupy the building by the end of March, and many of them are looking forward to the increase in space to accommodate class sizes that have outgrown the college’s main building along La. Highway 311.

The BP IPT building is host to curriculum for offshore specialty training in mobile drilling systems, marine operations, production systems and safety courses.

Nick Duplechin called the new IPT building, along with its 4,000-square-foot lab and $500,000 worth of state-of-the-art equipment “extraordinary.”

Duplechin looks forward to using the new facility before also graduating from the program during the summer when he will begin the search for a career as a process operator.

“It’s such a great career and there is so much involved with the field in Louisiana,” he said. “There are so many job opportunities out there to help you reach your dreams.”

Travis Lavigne, chancellor of Fletcher Technical Community College, thanked BP for their support with part of the college’s mission to educate the next generation of oil and gas industry workers.

“Meeting workforce needs remains one of the biggest issues facing Louisiana,” Lavigne said. “Through programs and facilities like the Integrated Production Technologies building, we can address and solve these issues.”

Since 2009, BP has donated more than $5 million to Fletcher to fund and develop different areas of industry-related curriculum.

“Thanks to BP and its donations, we will ensure the next generation of industry workers come from our local communities and more importantly stay in our local communities,” Lavigne said.

Stevie Smith, Fletcher Foundation chairman and Louisiana Community and Technical College System board supervisor, said the BP IPT building is part of the college’s response to the market demand for a responsive workforce.

“This is the centerpiece to our vision to develop the expertise, flexibility and technical skills necessary to respond to the oil and gas industry’s need for highly skilled workforce,” Smith said.

He emphasized the importance of the IPT program with the knowledge of worldwide growth in oil and gas consumption, rapid progress in exploration and production technology and improved regulatory compliance.

BP America Chairman and President John Minge said the industry is going through a significant change and continues to grow with more challenging jobs waiting for students enrolled in technical college programs such as those offered by Fletcher.

“The students that came out of here are going to be in high demand,” Minge said. “We are part of this investment not just for BP, but for the industry.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal recognized Fletcher as one of the fastest growing technical colleges in the country.

Jindal said Fletcher, along with BP, trains students to fill the growing numbers of jobs that were not available six years ago in the state of Louisiana.

“This is the future of our country,” the governor said. “Louisiana plays a great role in producing energy for the rest of the country and even throughout the rest of the world. It starts with the kids who will be trained here.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with local elected officials and representatives from BP participated in Fletcher’s ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Integrated Production Technology building. The State of Louisiana and BP split the $8 million cost to launch the program.