A $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will allow South Central Louisiana Technical College in Reserve to build a new 4,000-square-foot welding facility.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams announced the award Thursday during a program at the school’s campus. The department has prioritized skills and workforce development, he said.

The welding facility will include 40 indoor welding booths and an outdoor welding area. The new facility will allow the school to train an estimated 576 additional welding students over the next several years.

“Today’s announcement is not about a new facility,” Earl Meador, South Central Louisiana Technical College's director, said. “This is about economic and workforce development and ensuring that the citizens of St. John Parish and surrounding communities have access to the workforce training and academic services they need to be able to compete and thrive in the economy.”