Golden Triangle Polymers delivers on $1.325 million investment in training Southeast Texas workforce

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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ORANGE — Steven Prusak has seen examples across the globe where a homegrown and educated workforce provides an honest day’s work filled with passion that extends well beyond the job site.

“They care about their community,” the president and chief executive officer of Chevron Phillips Chemical told Port Arthur Newsmedia Wednesday afternoon.

“They are looking beyond just the plant itself but for the betterment of the entire community around them: their children, those they go to church with. They feel a sense of responsibility to be a good steward in the community, and we want to be a good operator, as well.”

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The comments were appropriate, as they came minutes after Prusak and others cut a ceremonial ribbon, signifying the unveiling of a new Hands-On-Training (H.O.T) Unit for process technology students at Lamar State College Orange.

The effort was funded by a $1.325 million donation from Golden Triangle Polymers, which is a joint venture of Chevron Phillips and QatarEnergy.

The $8.5 billion facility, which is under construction across from the Orange County Airport, has an expected startup planned in 2026. Along the way, construction is forecasted to create 4,500 construction jobs.

Company and county leaders are working to fill the subsequent 500 permanent jobs with as many Southeast Texas employees as possible.

Training that potential workforce with the new Hands-On-Training Unit is a step in that direction.

“We’re here for a variety of reasons,” Prusak said. “For one, it is a great location to build this facility. The talent base is here once we get into the operating phase. I am also thrilled that we have got the support of the community with Judge (John) Gothia and others throughout this entire process. We have been welcomed every step of the way. I am really grateful for that.

“We know that is a two-way thing. We have to earn that respect. We have to perform everyday. That is our commitment to the local community. Part of our tagline is we want to be the neighbor of choice. We know you have to work in order to earn that.”

College President Dr. Tom Johnson said the extraordinary new unit represents the power of collaboration and innovation.

“This state-of-the-art facility signifies the investment in the future of our students in the industries that they will serve,” he added. “As someone who was born down here in Southeast Texas, it is so nice to see it is our turn to have all these good things happen. Golden Triangle Polymers chose the right place to come.”

The unit is 24 feet long, 35 feet high and 11 feet wide. It is customized with an Emerson control system supported by sky controls seamlessly integrated into the unit. The controls create an impressive learning experience for students and provides them with a hands-on learning environment like no other, Johnson stated.

Golden Triangle Polymers Company leaders and then Chevron CEO Bruce Chinn first announced the $1.325 million donation March 7, 2023, during the official GTP groundbreaking at 2525 Highway 87 South.

Once operational, the plant is going to produce Marlex® polyethylene and plans to employ more than 500 full-time workers.

Over the next 20 years, the plant is expected to contribute $50 billion in residual economic impacts for the community.