Keeping jobs in West Texas: LEDA announces plan to bring in manu - FOX34 Lubbock

Keeping jobs in West Texas: LEDA announces plan to bring in manufacturing plant and student coding program

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) announced in a press conference Wednesday afternoon the introduction of a manufacturing facility and a new coding program catering to high-tech jobs.

Mayor Dan Pope said this is an effort to spur growth and keep jobs close to home.

"As we move forward, as we move our community forward, it is about opportunity and it's about hope," Pope said. 

The first of two, new job-growing opportunities is a $17 million capital investment to build a facility for the home of WL Plastics, which produces pipe for the oil, gas, and water markets.

Michael Dahl, with WL Plastics, said the factory will create at least 40 manufacturing jobs, specifically for citizens in West Texas. 

"Obviously I'm biased, but I think we have the best people in the industry, and we're looking forward to building a team here. We'll bring a few people in, but almost everyone who will work at this factory will be local," Dahl said.

John Osborne, president and CEO of LEDA, said the city presents an attractive option in the industrial market. 

"One thing we're seeing is a trend where companies that are involved in the oil and gas industry, but also involved in other industries, are looking at Lubbock as the right place to grow. They can access the Permian Basin, we have a supply of labor, and we have a quality of life that is meaningful and attractive to these companies to be in our community," Osborne said.

The other opportunity is the creation of a new coding program, in partnership with Austin Coding Academy, Texas Tech, and South Plains College.

Osborne said this nine month, part-time academy is designed to give tech companies a much needed supply of coders. 

"Locally, we actually have companies here that are trying to grow and need to add employees to the tune of almost 200 positions in the next year alone. As a result, we needed an academy to come in and train a workforce so that these technology companies can continue to grow," Osborne said.

Chris Lofton, CEO of Austin Coding Academy, said coding is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, and this program is specifically constructed to get students ready for a job. 

"I met with 12 software companies, who were begging for our graduates, and talked to them. I let each one speak and say what they were looking for, and we're going to build a customized curriculum to meet their needs so that our graduates out of Lubbock Coding Academy can get great jobs," Lofton said.

Mayor Pope said these two opportunities represent the city's growth both now, and its potential going forward. 

"We grow as a community when we have good jobs, and we are then able to enjoy all that goes along with Lubbock," Pope said.

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