BEAUMONT, Texas — Businesses from all over Southeast Texas came together Tuesday for an inaugural industry advancement expo hosted by the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick attended the event and said it's a prime opportunity to get the workforce trained and ready for the new expansion Southeast Texas is experiencing.
While Southeast Texas has certainly fallen victim to the challenges facing the rest of the nation economically, some believe our region was able to survive and even thrive thanks to the industrial jobs that have been here for decades.
The Beaumont Civic Center was booming with businesses from all over Texas, each looking to capture a new wave of economic growth.
"Seeing approximately $65 billion worth of expansion in our county over the next several years,” Branick said. “Almost every week I’m approached by another industrial prospect interested in locating in Jefferson County."
Unemployment has dipped since last year from close to 11% now down to 8%.
"We are really poised for great growth in Southeast Texas," said Pamela Wise, a program analyst with Workforce Solutions.
She said industrial growth trickles down to the rest of the economy.
"We know when the jobs are good, our hotels are hopping, and restaurants need to hire people and things like that," Wise said. "All of that has a positive impact on Southeast Texas."
And with new projects on the way, Branick hopes to see more young people take advantage of high-paying jobs.
"They can find rewarding, well paying, very well paying careers in the trades,” Branick said.
"Southeast Texas is a great place to work," said an instructor from the Lamar Institute of Technology.
After 36 years at ExxonMobil, Michael Liedy is trying to spread the word to young people.
"Before you leave Beaumont going to Houston looking for bigger and better things,” Liedy said. “Right here, in Beaumont Texas, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches, this is the place to be."
If you missed Tuesday's event and are interested in new projects or finding work, head to the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce website or visit the workforce solutions website to get training for specific jobs.