Chevron visits Co-Lin Wesson to discuss job opportunities

Published 12:45 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

WESSON — More than 50 students, representing four different technical programs at Copiah-Lincoln Community College gathered to hear representatives from Chevron discuss job opportunities with their company. With starting salaries above $55,000 a year, recruiters quickly peaked their audience’s interest.

“In my first year with Chevron, I made $60,000 a year,” said Chevron recruiter, Amanda Helms. “Four years later, I made $86,000.” Now in her sixth year, Helms told the audience that effective communication and computer skills could help them obtain an equally successful career with the company.

To obtain the younger, techno-savvy workforce Chevron desires, Helms and her counterparts go after graduates of technical programs like those offered at Co-Lin. Students from diesel mechanics, heating and air conditioning technology, electronics technology and industrial maintenance technology/instrumentation technology will be considered for employment during interviews that will take place on Co-Lin’s campus during the spring semester. Recruiters told their audience of Chevron hopefuls to maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or better.

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“We’re trying to phase in a higher range of skills into our workforce,” Helms said. “Although a college education was, at one point, not necessary for employment on one of Chevron’s production platforms, the industry’s growing dependence upon computers makes Co-Lin’s technical programs fertile ground for recruiting.”

“For that reason, we don’t hire right out of high school anymore,” Helms said. “We hire people holding either a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree.”

She quickly pointed out, however, that off-shore candidates will not be directly benefited by an extra two years spent pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

“Someone holding a bachelor’s degree starts off at the same rate of pay as someone with an associate’s degree,” Helms said. “And the individual holding a bachelor’s degree does not reach top pay any sooner than someone with an associate’s degree.”

Helms and her counterpart, Darryl Sapp, a 23-year Chevron veteran, noted that shifting demographics in North America have drastically affected their recruiting emphasis.

“The industry, as a whole, needs people because the Baby Boomer generation (individuals between the ages of 43 and 61) are retiring and leaving the field,” Sapp said. “As older employees leave, their experience leaves with them.”

To ensure that Chevron’s employees continue to fuel the company’s success, mentorship is emphasized.

New employees are assigned a more seasoned employee shortly after hiring on. The policy aims to transfer knowledge to the younger workforce and to maximize the strengths of each generation.

“We like to combine the computer skills of the younger generation with the field experience of the Baby Boomers,” Sapp said.

Chevron recruiters hope that the earning potential offered by the oil industry will draw in a younger generation of employees like those enrolled in Co-Lin’s technical programs.

For more information on Co-Lin’s career and technical programs, contact the Co-Lin Counseling Center at 601-643-8490.