Twenty-eight area high school students completed BASF’s TECH Academy—a week-long educational and workforce development program hosted at River Parishes Community College in Gonzales.
The program encourages students to learn more about technical and craft careers through experiments, demonstrations, field trips and dialogue with industry professionals.
“This is a great opportunity for high school students to get a jump on their future,” says Jolen Stein, communications manager for BASF in Geismar. “TECH Academy introduces students to the great programs at RPCC that offer opportunities for careers in the industry. We help them envision a path for their success.”
The group of rising high school juniors and seniors from various local high schools participated in field trips that reinforced skills needed in technical disciplines such as a process technician, instrument technician, welder, pipefitter, drafter, lab technician and more. The students toured multiple facilities to learn about career opportunities, including BASF’s site in Geismar, AWC, Smith Tank and Steel, MMR Group and NASA Stennis Space Center.
“As the week progressed, I grew fond of drafting and design,” says Troy’el Comeaux, a student at Donaldsonville High School. “RPCC has a great program and since I love drafting, why not try to pursue the task that I love? Also, a technical degree would have me well-prepared for a job in industry.”
TECH Academy is part of BASF’s STEM education and workforce development efforts in North America to support industry growth and investment in the region.
“BASF’s program introduces high school students to a plethora of technical fields on a college campus,” says Dr. Dale Doty, Chancellor at RPCC. “The students also gain hands-on experience to see their potential job in a ‘real world’ environment.”
TECH Academy is funded annually by BASF and is free for students. A total of 150 high school students have completed TECH Academy in the last five years. The application process is open to any local student rising to their junior or senior year of high school with interest in technical careers. Students who complete the program are eligible to apply for BASF scholarships to pursue technical degrees or certifications at RPCC.