Phillips 66, Chevron Phillips to fund new Texas petrochemical academy

Phillips 66 and Chevron Phillips Chemical are teaming up with the Sweeny Independent School District in Texas to help fund the creation of a petrochemical academy, the companies announced on Friday.

Phillips 66 and Chevron Phillips Chemical are making an initial combined contribution of $1.6 million to the academy as part of their continued commitment to education and workforce development initiatives in the communities where they operate. 

This occupational education program will allow students the opportunity to take dual credit college courses while attending high school.

"I believe that the significant support from Phillips 66 and Chevron Phillips Chemical in developing our petrochemical academy relates well with the intent of House Bill 5 in that it will assist the district in preparing students to be career-ready,” said Randy Miksch, superintendent of the Sweeny ISD. 

“Being able to offer dual credit courses in process technology, instrumentation, millwright, pipefitting and welding will help students gain certifications and advancement to an associate degree, which in turn will benefit the students and industry," he added. 

"It is our hope that these educational and internship opportunities will help us produce highly qualified career-ready future employees for both Phillips 66 and Chevron Phillips Chemical.”

Enacted by the Texas Legislature during the 83rd session, House Bill 5 made substantial changes to the state's curriculum and graduation requirements, assessment program and accountability system. A key component of the legislation allows college preparatory courses to be offered for dual credit.

The $1.6 million combined contribution by Phillips 66 and Chevron Phillips Chemical will support the purchase of equipment, building renovations, and scholarships for juniors and seniors enrolled in Sweeny ISD and surrounding school systems. Subsequent contributions will be made in coming years to help cover ongoing maintenance and operation costs and additional equipment.

“We have significant growth plans for our operations in this region, so it’s exciting to know that students who enroll in classes at the academy will gain college-level skills before they even graduate high school,” said Willie Tempton, manager of the Phillips 66 refinery in Sweeny. “That means a well-trained workforce for industry in our area and good paying jobs for young Texans looking for a career right here at home.”

The petrochemical academy is expected to kick off classes with the start of the new school year on August 25.

“We see this academy as the beginning of bolstering a pipeline of petrochemical talent in our area,” said Wayne McDowell, manager of Chevron Phillips Chemical’s plant in Sweeny. “This includes talent to construct and operate our US Gulf Coast petrochemicals project, which is expected to create 200 long-term jobs as well as 5,000 construction and engineering jobs locally.”

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