BROWNSVILLE, Texas Pat Hobbs is retiring as longtime executive director of Workforce Solutions Cameron at the end of the year.
Before he goes he is preparing for a surge in demand for construction workers in the county. This is because NextDecade is expected to announce soon that it will build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at the Port of Brownsville.
According to Eduardo Campirano, port director for Brownsville Navigation District, the LNG plant will be the largest private sector investment in the state of Texas at $11.4 billion.
Hobbs has been working with local schools and colleges to ensure training programs are in place for the expected new jobs.
In an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service, Hobbs said an announcement about hiring for the construction of the LNG project could be made soon. More than 5,000 new construction jobs could be created.
“Well, I can tell you that I have information. I hope it’s good information that hiring for the LNG project will begin early in July. By Bechtel, that’s the construction company that’s going to build the plant,” Hobbs said.
“We fully expect that they are going to honor the 35 percent minimum Brownsville residents as they build the plant. We think that we can produce enough workers to beat that 35 percent. And we’re anxious to for them to make the announcement so that we can put the carrot out there and draw the students or participants into training so that they can take those good jobs.”
In the interview, Hobbs also spoke about a $600,000 conveyor grant Workforce Solutions Cameron received jointly from Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Texas Education Agency. With the grant Hobbs has to pull together various stakeholders, including Region One Education Service Center.
“We will be able to pinpoint where our weaknesses are in our workforce based on what companies are coming to the (Rio Grande) Valley, and be able to fix them as a coordinated unit, a regional unit.”
Asked for any closing remarks, Hobbs said: “Stay tuned and prepare.”
Here is the interview:
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