Business Editor Jared Hunt reports on the need for a skilled workforce if a cracker plant materializes in Wood County:
“…Cleaning out the notebook following last week’s landmark announcement that Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht is making plans to build an ethylene cracker and three other polyethylene plants in Wood County:
David Peebles, the company’s vice president for business development, said it was “most symbolic” that the announcement was made at the Caperton Center for Applied Technology at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
“I’m looking up on the second floor and I see students — that’s why we’re here,” Peebles said. “We’re here to create a legacy asset for a generation of youth.”
Education will play crucial role in developing that asset. Peebles said attracting qualified manpower and developing a skilled work force are key elements in successfully operating a petrochemical facility on a long-term basis.
“Most important thing when we think about how many jobs (could be created at the plant), is to think of the creation of trained, skilled manpower,” Peebles said.
He said the company already employs 180,000 people worldwide and hopefully will create many more in West Virginia.
His advice to the students: “Stay trained, get good grades and you’re going to have a great job and a great life…”