BATON ROUGE – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today toured River Parishes Community College (RPCC) in Gonzales to learn how they are training students to fill jobs in Louisiana’s energy industry. That industry received a boost from Cassidy’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes billions for hydrogen hubs, carbon capture technologies, and demonstration projects to develop the cutting-edge energy innovations pioneered here in Louisiana.
While there, Cassidy visited their PET (Process Equipment Trainer) Plant, which will train RPCC students studying process technology, instrumentation and electrical technology, millwright, welding, and other industry-related programs. The plant was designed and built by energy companies such as BASF and Dow Chemical, which will provide refresher training and continuing education at the site.
“We want our people to succeed as much as they possibly can,” said Dr. Cassidy. “RPCC is doing great work educating students and equipping them with the skills they need. Our community colleges offer an affordable way to advance your education.”
Cassidy also toured laboratories at RPCC, and spoke with students. He was led on the tour by Mr. Quentin Taylor, Interim Chancellor at RPCC.
“I was honored to welcome Senator Cassidy to RPCC,” said Mr. Taylor. “Senator Cassidy’s commitment to education and the people of Louisiana is something we can all be proud of. From the first time I met him ten years ago, education and workforce development have been a priority. I appreciated him engaging with our students and learning more about the exciting future of RPCC and how our college is leading the way in preparing students for great careers in tried and true economic drivers, as well as new and emerging sectors.”
Earlier, Cassidy toured Zen-Noh Grain’s facility in Convent, including its export elevator, which can load or unload more than 150,000 bushels per hour. Zen-Noh Grain helps export corn, feedstuffs and soybeans to the rest of the world.
“Shipping U.S. products around the world is what Zen-Noh does. Their concerns are adequate infrastructure, the health of the Mississippi River, and the productivity of farmers,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I was pleased to hear that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been so important to their success.”
Cassidy was greeted by executives at Zen-Noh and their partner company, Consolidated Grain and Barge. Mr. Charles Colbert, President and CEO of Zen-Noh Grain, was appreciative of Cassidy’s visit.
“We appreciate Senator Cassidy’s visit to our export elevator in Convent, Louisiana today,” said Mr. Colbert. “We discussed the importance of a functioning U.S. inland waterway system and the issues, including delays and added costs to the barge transportation system, caused by very low water in the Mississippi River. We sincerely thank Senator Cassidy for ensuring quick actions by ACOE and USCG to cure river problems, like port blockages, after incidents like Hurricane Ida and power lines in the river.
“We also discussed the importance of U.S. farmers that grow products for export, free trade for U.S. markets, and the need for dependable rail service. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Cassidy and his team on these very important issues.”