Linde has announced that its subsidiary, Praxair, Inc., has expanded its Skills Pipeline workforce development programme in collaboration with Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) in Alexandria and the US Army installation at Fort Polk.

The new Army Career Skills Programme, which began in February, provides professional truck driving scholarships to soldiers who are transitioning back to civilian life. The programme is the first in the Skills Pipeline family to be solely focused on veterans.

Praxair provided $145,000 to launch the programme and has plans to begin a second cohort in June (2019). The company has invested nearly $2m in all Skills Pipeline programmes in welding, advanced manufacturing and professional truck driving since 2014.

“We are thrilled to provide military personnel transitioning from the armed services with meaningful opportunities as they return home,” said Dr Anne Roby, Executive Vice-President, Linde PLC.

“Drivers are an essential part of our team and we are focused on developing a diverse pipeline of talented professionals to ensure we meet the needs of our customers. We are very proud of the hard work of the veterans graduating in this first cohort,” said Roby.

“We are happy to include Praxair as part of our overall education services programmes here at Polk,” said US Army Command Sergeant Major Jerry Dodson.

“Through our programmes, we strive to offer soldiers quality educational services both during their time on active duty and during their transition into the civilian job market. We are confident that Praxair will be a positive addition to our education services programme.”

The curriculum includes Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training and the opportunity to obtain haz-mat and tanker endorsements relevant to work in the chemical industry. The programme also offers instructorships, professional development and career-readiness content from the company.

“Today, thanks to Praxair, we have graduates working and earning competitive wages,” said Monty Sullivan, President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

“Many of whom would not have had the opportunity to attend college. Their lives and families have greatly benefitted from Praxair’s support,” Sullivan concluded.