Sen. Bill Cassidy tours Gonzales' River Parishes Community College, Convent's Zen-Noh Grain

Staff Report
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) toured River Parishes Community College in Gonzales, where he learned how the school has been training students to fill jobs in Louisiana’s energy industry.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) toured River Parishes Community College in Gonzales where students have been training for jobs in Louisiana’s energy industry.

In a news release, the senator touted the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included billions for hydrogen hubs, carbon capture technologies, and demonstration projects.

While visiting Ascension Parish, Cassidy checked out the process equipment trainer plant, which will train RPCC students studying process technology, instrumentation and electrical technology, millwright, welding, and other industry-related programs.

The plant was designed and built by energy companies such as BASF and Dow Chemical, which will provide refresher training and continuing education at the site.

“We want our people to succeed as much as they possibly can," Cassidy said. “RPCC is doing great work educating students and equipping them with the skills they need. Our community colleges offer an affordable way to advance your education.”

The senator also toured RPCC's laboratories and spoke with students on campus. Interim Chancellor Quentin Taylor led the tour.

“I was honored to welcome Senator Cassidy to RPCC,” Taylor said. “Senator Cassidy’s commitment to education and the people of Louisiana is something we can all be proud of. From the first time I met him ten years ago, education and workforce development have been a priority. I appreciated him engaging with our students and learning more about the exciting future of RPCC and how our college is leading the way in preparing students for great careers in tried-and-true economic drivers, as well as new and emerging sectors.”

Earlier in the day, Cassidy toured the Zen-Noh Grain facility in Convent. The St. James Parish location includes an export elevator, which can load and unload more than 150,000 bushels per hour.

Zen-Noh Grain exports corn, feedstuffs, and soybeans around the world.

“Shipping U.S. products around the world is what Zen-Noh does. Their concerns are adequate infrastructure, the health of the Mississippi River, and the productivity of farmers,” Cassidy said. “I was pleased to hear that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been so important to their success.”

The senator was greeted by executives, including President and CEO Charles Cobert, at Zen-Noh and their partner company, Consolidated Grain and Barge.

“We appreciate Senator Cassidy’s visit to our export elevator in Convent, Louisiana today,” Colbert said. “We discussed the importance of a functioning U.S. inland waterway system and the issues, including delays and added costs to the barge transportation system, caused by very low water in the Mississippi River. We sincerely thank Senator Cassidy for ensuring quick actions by ACOE and USCG to cure river problems, like port blockages, after incidents like Hurricane Ida and power lines in the river.

“We also discussed the importance of U.S. farmers that grow products for export, free trade for U.S. markets, and the need for dependable rail service. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Cassidy and his team on these very important issues.”