Bechtel empowering local students with virtual reality equipment for advanced training

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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Bechtel is providing the equipment and systems to empower Port Arthur and Nederland students with simulated welding learning opportunities.

The global engineering and construction firm donated virtual reality learning equipment and systems Tuesday to the independent school districts of Port Arthur and Nederland.

Bechtel is currently leading development of the Port Arthur LNG facility in Sabine Pass, which at peak construction, will include nearly 6,000 workers.

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This week’s donations support technical programs that teach high school students how to use welding tools on a construction site. The equipment and systems are crucial in helping students gain hands-on experience, prepare for exams and master the curriculum set by the National Center for Construction Education & Research, Bechtel leaders say.

“This innovative technology uses VR welding experiences to ‘open the eyes’ of high school students about exciting career choices and pathways in the growing LNG industry,” said Kane McIntosh, Port Arthur LNG Project Manager at Bechtel.

“Craft professionals with the right skills and experience are in high demand as we build the infrastructure needed to support global energy security. Sempra Infrastructure and Bechtel are committed to supporting Port Arthur and Southeast Texas, this includes training the next generation of workers who will deliver large-scale projects like Port Arthur LNG Phase 1.”

Currently, Bechtel employs more than 4,000 craft professionals on U.S. Gulf Coast LNG projects and expects to expand to more than 20,000 at peak.

READ MORE: Memorial students talk about real world experience, industry access available with new VR technology

To meet this demand, Bechtel is investing in training the local community and developing current Bechtel craft professionals.

“Our partnership with Bechtel is allowing us to provide the students of Nederland ISD with another pathway to high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs in our region,” said Nederland High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Bryan Spell.

“This path would not have been possible without Bechtel’s leadership and support. Bechtel’s generosity is very much appreciated, but it is their belief in and commitment to our young women and men that has created a great excitement about the program and its potential.”

Adrienne Lott, Port Arthur Independent School District’s Director of Communications, said education leaders are excited to have local students integrate virtual reality into their welding program on the CTE campus.

“Some students’ only access is if they have or know someone with VR equipment or if they’ve visited a venue that provides VR experiences,” Lott said. “We are grateful to Bechtel for investing their resources into our students who could potentially return the favor by working for this corporation someday in the future.”

Port Arthur LNG site representatives are talking with students about starting a career in construction while stressing Bechtel’s commitment to safety and rewarding careers.

“These types of contributions are a tremendous way for Bechtel to show its ongoing commitment to education and expanding career opportunities in the local community,” McIntosh said.

“Bechtel is committed to leaving behind a positive legacy in communities where we live and work. By fostering educational and career opportunities, engaging with local suppliers, and supporting civic initiatives, we not only contribute to immediate project needs but also stimulate sustainable economic growth and development in the regions we serve.”