ExxonMobil will fund a $500,000 workforce training program to enable Houstons leading community colleges to prepare local residents for jobs in the regional chemical industry, the company said on Friday.
The initiative will build on the success of the nationally-recognized ExxonMobil process technology program at Lee College and will benefit 50,000 students and educators over the next five years, according to ExxonMobil officials.
The company says it has contributed more than $2.6 million over the past 10 years to manufacturing workforce training initiatives across the US Gulf Coast area, impacting more than 15,000 students in the region.
Lee College will work with Houston Community College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto Junior College, Alvin Community College, Wharton County Junior College, Brazosport College, Galveston College and College of the Mainland to train students seeking certification or completion of degree programs for instrumentation, electrical, machinist/millwright, welding, pipefitting and other skills and competencies needed by the industry.
There are also future plans to include area high schools in the program, which will provide training that aligns with skills and competencies defined by industry, as well as nationally recognized certification programs.
The chemical industry supports 73,000 high-paying Texas manufacturing jobs and will add more under announced expansion plans by industry, including ExxonMobil, said Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical.
Our industry has made Texas the top chemical producing state in the nation, driven in large part by abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas for energy and feedstock. We contribute to a strong economy for Houston and the state.
ExxonMobil is awaiting construction permits to progress plans for its major petrochemical expansion in Baytown. The multi-billion dollar project would include a new ethane cracker and premium product facilities at ExxonMobils integrated complex and capitalize on abundant supplies of American natural gas.
If developed, the project is estimated to create about 10,000 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs would be added to the companys workforce of more than 6,000 in the Baytown area. The estimated multiplier effect would create another 3,800 jobs in the local community.
At the announcement Friday at the Greater Houston Partnership, state Sen. Rodney Ellis said the proposed petrochemical expansions will require highly skilled workers.
The jobs that will become available in our area over the next decade represent a life-changing opportunity for many in our community, said Ellis. With the average annual salary in the Texas chemical industry at $86,000, this landmark partnership among our schools, business community and ExxonMobil can help make the dream of economic independence come true for a lot of families.
The Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development will implement the program to educate qualified students to meet the industry's current and future workforce needs. Marketing and recruiting to technical programs that support petrochemical workforce needs will increase, including targeting military veterans through existing programs at these community colleges.
Prospective students can enroll at the campus of their choice for classroom instruction, dual-credit courses, internships, certificate programs and two-year degrees. More information is available at www.HoustonNaturalGas.com.