Posted on October 6, 2012
Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on October 7, 2012.
A massive hands-on training unit, signifying a city investment of $300,000 through the El Dorado economic development tax, was wheeled into El Dorado recently and came to rest at South Arkansas Community College.
Purchased to fulfill the training needs of area industries and the educational needs of the college?s process technology program, the unit is designed to give students, as well as current industrial sector employees, a chance to train with real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment.
The unit has been placed in the college?s Center for Workforce Development on the East Campus.
"The HOT apparatus represents an investment that our citizens are making to help insure economic stability in our immediate region,? El Dorado Mayor Frank Hash said. "Industries like Lion Oil, Great Lakes Solutions, El Dorado Chemical, Clean Harbors, Entergy, Cross Refinery and others are the bed rock of our local economy, all requiring skilled employees and operators on a continuous basis. The training apparatus and the instructional facility of SouthArk will ensure our industries will not have to look outside our community for these skilled operators.?
El Dorado Chamber of Commerce President Henry Florsheim said that the investment will strengthen the existing local economic base.
"Hats off to SouthArk and the Economic Development Board for making this happen,? Florsheim said. "In economic development, with so much emphasis placed on recruiting prospects, supporting existing business is the piece that tends to get lost. That?s why this is the perfect project for our economic development tax.
"Most of our new jobs over the past two years have been created by existing business and they could hire more if the workforce was there. This training unit will help local industry create more of that workforce they need, which is one of the most important issues we should be addressing as a community.?
South Arkansas Community College President, Dr. Barbara Jones, stated that partnering with business, industry and government to provide a well-trained workforce is part of the mission of the community college. Jones shared that the HOT unit provides simulation equipment common to all chemical plants and refineries and will be beneficial in training new industrial and process operators, as well as incumbent workers currently working in the area plants.
Hash thanked all of the entities that came together ? local industries, the city and its voters for passing the tax and the college ? to make it possible to bring the training unit here.
"The City of El Dorado is fortunate to have a willing citizenry, council, Economic Development Board, Chamber of Commerce and community college all dedicated to improved local prosperity,? he said. "The HOT apparatus is a sterling example of this overall endeavor.?
An open house to show the unit?s capabilities will be scheduled at a later date." "Video Project Proposal for El Dorado Attractions Tour – Friday, October 12, 2012"