Central Louisiana Technical Community College plans to bring a "world-class" manufacturing training facility downtown not long after opening its new main campus nearby.
Officials with the college and partners revealed plans for the CLTCC Manufacturing Technology Center Tuesday and announced a $2 million grant awarded by the Rapides Foundation to help fund the project will be matched by the state.
"This is the biggest non-construction-related donation that we have had in the history of our college," CLTCC Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle said, adding, "This goes directly towards our students and the companies and industries that they will eventually go to work for."
The college recently secured the 27,000-square-foot former McCormick Graphics building on 2nd Street, which will house the Manufacturing Technology Center.
CLTCC's main campus is supposed to be relocated between Murray and Jackson streets by fall 2019.
With $4 million flowing into Louisiana Community and Technical College System, President Monty Sullivan envisions the Manufacturing Technology Center being a "world-class academic and training facility in downtown Alexandria."
In addition to helping compensate additional faculty with competitive salaries, Sawtelle said, the grant money will be spent to launch and support advanced manufacturing programs and necessary high-tech equipment.
The $2 million grant is one of the largest ever to be awarded by the Rapides Foundation, according to its president and CEO, Joe Rosier.
"Our grant is a vote of confidence to CLTCC leadership and staff," Rosier said.
The mission of the charitable Foundation is to improve Central Louisiana's health status, something Rosier noted is closely tied to people's educational attainment, occupation and income.
"Our board has put workforce (development) within its set of priorities and tried to be strategic in working with those occupations that can drive higher income," he said.
The state for its part is matching the Rapides Foundation's donation with money from the Louisiana Workforce Training Rapid Response Fund, according to Sullivan.
CLTCC has nine campuses throughout Central Louisiana.
Several already offer a foundational Certification for Manufacturing (C4M) program, which Sawtelle said offers people the opportunity to make a living wage and work for some of the region's biggest employers.
"Although Alexandria will be the hub for manufacturing training, this supports not just one campus," Sawtelle said.
The Manufacturing Technology Center will allow CLTCC to offer specialized training in manufacturing that will lead to even better-paying job opportunities and benefits for graduates.
"Companies want us to go further," Sawtelle said.