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Lake Charles one of top five cities for chemical engineers

Last Modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:05 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

Lake Charles ranked No. 5 in the nation on a list for the best cities for chemical engineers, according to a data and analysis firm.

Baton Rouge also made the list, coming in at No. 3 — right behind Houston and Beaumont, Texas, but ahead of Wilmington, Del.

According to ValuePenguin, Lake Charles has 190 chemical engineering jobs, and “it benefits from relatively high demand, an above average annual salary of $100,350, and a cost of living that is significantly lower than the US average.”

Cities were ranked based on three areas: chemical engineers’ earnings, cities’ cost of living and “the concentration of chemical engineers in the city as a proportion of all occupations relative to the national average,” the site reads.

Richard B. Smith, vice president of workforce development at the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said chemical engineers are one of several engineering disciplines that are in high demand in the local workforce.

With industrial facilities creating new positions and the number of experienced chemical engineers reaching retirement age, it opens up opportunities for new chemical engineers to enter the workforce over the next eight to 10 years, Smith said.

“The large volume of work scheduled in that timeframe will allow new engineers the opportunity to gain valuable experience during the construction and commissioning of the new facilities,” he said. “Many local companies hire engineering graduates directly out of college to work with their experienced engineers.”

Nikos Kiritsis, dean of the college of engineering at McNeese State University, said most of his students get jobs at local companies. He said engineers with families prefer the Lake Area more than single engineers because the family-oriented living attracts a more stable workforce.

“We work very well with the local industry to identify and comply with their needs,” Kiritsis said. “We get input from them all the time in terms of our curriculum.”

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