CORPUS CHRISTI – Last Thursday, Gulf Coast Growth Ventures (GCGV) donated $1.5 million to Del Mar College (DMC) for new, cutting-edge equipment that will enhance workforce training in the Coastal Bend for future generations.
Also announced at the ceremony was the name of the new space to house the equipment, the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures Process Technology Lab.
“Today we are building on the wonderful investment in workforce training this community has already made in Del Mar College,” said ExxonMobil’s venture executive for GCGV Paul Guilfoyle. “This state-of-the-art facility is not just an investment in buildings and equipment. It’s an investment in the careers and the families of the students who will graduate from this program. It’s an investment in the future of our facility here in the Coastal Bend, one that will ensure the safe and responsible operation of our plant for years to come.”
GCGV, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and SABIC, is building a plastics plant on a 1,300-acre tract in San Patricio County. When the plant begins operations, targeted for late 2021, it will generate 600 permanent jobs with an average salary of $90,000 per year.
“I am particularly proud to see Del Mar’s students seeking technical education not only because they could one day be the workforce and leaders who operate our GCGV facility,” said Mohammed Al-Wakeel, SABIC’s venture executive for GCGV. “Also because it is their first step towards what is hopefully a prosperous career right here in the local industry.”
Today’s gift – one of the largest donations of direct funding from an individual company in DMC’s history – enables the college to purchase equipment that will be used in workforce training programs such as process technology, millwright, welding, environmental/petrochemical lab technology and transportation training – all of which are in-demand career fields as the Coastal Bend economy grows.
Equipment includes a distillation pilot plant, a liquid-liquid extraction trainer, two Bayport process trainers and a water treatment process trainer.
“This donation from Gulf Coast Growth Ventures enables us to take our world-class training to the next level,” DMC President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mark Escamilla said. “I want to publicly say thank you, once again, to Gulf Coast Growth Ventures for your truly incredible generosity to Del Mar College and your support of our local workforce.”
GCGV has consistently supported DMC programs and students with curriculum development and scholarships. This academic year, they have donated $110,000 in scholarships for DMC students.
Last August, they donated $100,000 to the San Patricio County Workforce Development Consortium to support the college’s career and technical programs in the county’s high schools.
“The equipment we’re acquiring with this gift from Gulf Coast Growth Ventures is second to none in the region,” DMC Vice President of Workforce Development and Strategic Initiatives Lenora Keas said. “The hands-on training students gain will give them the advanced skills and knowledge that will stand out to the industries that are hiring.”
Two DMC students currently enrolled in the process technology program, Leticia Alvarado and Gary Tschoepe, spoke about their experiences at today’s event.
“You can look at books a million times over, but hands-on experience helps a lot of people like me,” said Alvarado, who plans to graduate in May. “This training takes the intimidation factor away. The support from Gulf Coast Growth Ventures and the new equipment it’s providing will make this an even better program.”
“Training that prepares us for the future is what we as students are looking for,” Tschoepe, who also thanked GCGV for a $2,000 scholarship he received this year, said. “I’ve seen the value of it firsthand with people who went to school and are now using their knowledge in the workplace. I think Gulf Coast Growth Ventures sees the value of it too.”
The news conference was held in DMC’s nearly completed, state-of-the-art Workforce Development Center (WDC).
The building, along with other new facilities, is the result of a $157 million bond issue approved by voters in 2014. The WDC is expected to be completed this summer.