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By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

Cloeren donates $500K for LSCO program


Last updated 11/30/2021 at 7:34pm

Lamar State College Orange just keeps making it rain.

The school announced this week it has landed a $500,000 donation from Orange’s Cloeren Inc. to build a mechatronics program.

This comes on the heels of the state granting the school $37.4 million to build a new Academics Building on the former site of the downtown Capital One Bank at the end of October.

In early November, the Texas Higher Education Board granted LSCO nearly $1 million in grants, including $495,000 to purchase equipment to launch a mechanical, manufacturing and maintenance program, and $300,000 to increase offerings in driver training programs.

“I’m just a very blessed individual,” Dr. Tom Johnson, LSCO’s president, said when asked about his school’s funding grants.

“We have brought in a very, very large number of grants in the past year. We’re listening to the community, seeing if there are grants available and we’re writing them.”

Johnson said the gift from Cloeren came via a visit with its CEO, Pete Cloeren.

“I said, ‘Mr. Cloeren, we’re here. What can we do for you?’ We just have a great team, and we listen. If there’s something our community needs, we’re going to act on that.”

Mechatronics, also called mechatronics engineering, is a branch of engineering that focuses on the integration of mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering systems.

The donation from Cloeren, a global leader in supplying tooling for the plastics extrusion industry, includes an initial $300,000 worth of machinery, and $200,000 in scholarship funding over the next four years, to support area students who wish to study this field.

The donated machinery, including a mill and lathe, will serve as the basis of study for the program. The company has also committed resources such as steel for in-class project use, cutting tools, cutting fluids, and Cloeren staff to provide lectures and instruction for the program’s students.

Additionally, Cloeren has committed to providing learning opportunities through part-time paid internships for LSCO students who are enrolled in the program. These students may also be considered for future employment at the company upon graduation.

“Cloeren is proud to make this educational investment in the Orange community,” said Pete Cloeren. “As a global mechatronics company, we see the need for a workforce that is well-educated and committed to the advancement of this field. This investment of time, money, and training into Lamar State College Orange will further ensure that our area is poised to support the growing workforce demand for mechatronics and ensure that LSCO will be a leader in training future workers in this space in partnership with Cloeren,” Pete Cloeren said.

Cloeren’s CEO stressed that a goal of the $200,000 set aside for scholarship funding will be to train more women to enter the male-dominated industry.

“Certain areas of the mechatronics field are incorrectly stereotyped as male jobs. I believe women can make significant contributions in the field,” said Cloeren.

“I believe there is a lot of talent in Southeast Texas that is either untapped or void of opportunity. I see our partnership with LSCO as an investment in our local community for those who wish to better themselves and their careers; and to also support our nation’s ability to remain competitive in this increasingly global marketplace.”

The college president called Cloeren’s gift “a game-changer for our campus in our ability to make our students competitive at a global level.

“We at Lamar State College Orange couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful to the generosity and vision of Pete Cloeren and the staff at Cloeren.”

The Mechatronics Program will begin accepting students in April 2022 for a Fall 2022 start. An information session about the new program will be held on campus on March 22, 2022. For more information on the program or to learn about enrolling, contact LSCO’s Advising Team via email [email protected], phone at 409-882-3340, or by visiting their office on the third floor of the Ron Lewis Building.

Johnson gives credit to Kristin Walker, Dean of Health, Workforce and Technical Studies; and Dr. Keith Jones, Associate Dean of Technical Studies; for chasing the government grants.

“They’re rock stars,” the LSCO president said.


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