Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX) today announced a new “Skills Pipeline” program, the company’s multifaceted approach to help address the growing need for skilled workers in today’s global economy. The first phase of the program will provide more than $300,000 to train 100 new welders in an accelerated one-year curriculum in Louisiana. This program is the most recent example of Praxair’s commitment to advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Funded by Praxair’s Global Giving Program and conducted in cooperation with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), Praxair’s Skills Pipeline program will be offered through Baton Rouge Community College, Delgado Community College and SOWELA Technical Community College. Scheduled to begin in September, the program also provides funding for new instructorships and professional development opportunities for existing welders. “Praxair is constantly focused on developing a diverse pipeline of talented STEM and skilled trade professionals to ensure we meet our critical business needs and remain competitive globally,” said Anne Roby, senior vice president at Praxair. “We have had a strong presence in Louisiana for decades and are pleased to partner with LCTCS. We believe these important investments affirm Praxair’s commitment to the communities where we live and work.” “Praxair’s initiative wastes no time in addressing what looms as a very specific and pressing need for our state,” said Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley. “Praxair’s Skills Pipeline scholarships offer an accelerated educational effort providing the state of Louisiana with 100 credentialed welders ready to go to work within a year. The state of Louisiana has more than $60 billion in new plant construction slated to begin by 2016 and the need for skilled welding professionals is urgent. This program is a prime example of the industry-academia-governmental collaborations envisioned for the state’s Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Program.” Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) President Dr. Monty Sullivan spoke of the significance of such a program to the students saying, "This investment by our partners at Praxair comes at a critical time for Louisiana as we continue the drive to increase the skilled workforce of tomorrow. Welding and construction skill crafts are some of the fastest growing and some of the highest paying professions in the state. This effort will give more Louisiana citizens the skills to go to work."