PORTLAND, Texas (Kiii News) — The planned multi-billion dollar Exxon Mobil Sabic plastics plant just outside Portland, Texas, is still waiting for state authorities to approve its air quality permit, but the company is said to be using this time to make sure its crews are ready to begin construction once they get the green light.

Safety training for construction crews was already underway Monday. Crews were learning vital safety skills, from knowing hazards to look out for to recognizing blind spots using a large excavator.

"You got a limited view of the sides when you are in this machine and operating," said David Patrie, Craft Training Manager for Gulf Coast Growth Ventures. "Your attention is on this bucket, so if someone is coming up from the side or back, you are not going to be able to see them."

To date, 1,100 people have already gone through the course. Workers who have been through it said it's very unique and different from other training they have been through because of its hands-on aspect.

"We want everyone to go home the same way they came to work, return to their families, and this unique hands-on approach really ingrains that behavior on a daily basis," Jared Young said.

An additional on-site course focuses on leadership for supervisors. That program is administered through a partnership with Del Mar College's Workforce Training Department.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for Del Mar College and the community as a whole because we continue to educate our workforce so we can continue to grow and be better people," said Kiwana Denson, Managing Director for Del Mar's Leadership Training Team.

The program also allows young helpers to get an up-close look at what their parents will be doing during construction.

Officials said the project could create more than 6,000 construction jobs. If all goes according to plan, they said they expect the plant to be up and running by 2022.

Stay connected with 3News for the latest news, sports, and weather. Download the KIII-TV 3News app now.

Have an idea for a story? Send news tips to news@kiiitv.com, and visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!