With the Gulf Coast area petrochemical industry needing more than 50,000 new workers within the decade, nine community colleges have set out to find and train this “next generation” of skilled workers, enabled by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation.
Now in its third year, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative has spread the word across the region that average salaries in this expanding industry average $99,700. It’s not surprising that enrollments in training programs, such as those at San Jacinto College, are growing significantly.
In August, representatives from all nine partnering community colleges in the Texas Gulf Coast region, along with ExxonMobil, met in the Nolan Ryan Center on the Alvin Community College campus to present more than $60,000 in scholarships to 43 selected students.
San Jacinto College process technology students Gladys Jackson, Laura Plazibat, and Austen Riche; along with instrumentation student Jonathan Gallo, were all at the recent event where they each received $1,000 or $2,000 scholarships.
Students heard a rousing message from the manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, Woody Paul, who reminded them that, while their backgrounds and stories may differ, each one is seeking to improve their lives through careers in the petrochemical industry. He applauded their discipline, tenacity, and determination as they juggled career training with family and current jobs.
In all, ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.5 million towards training skilled new workers. This is the second consecutive year that CCPI and ExxonMobil have brought together new recipients to present scholarships and encourage them in their educational pursuits.