The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has been working with the East Harris County Manufacturers Association and several other companies and organizations on a career action platform (CAP) for the petrochemical industry.
The platform is a component of JPMorgan Chase’s $250 million investment to fill the gaps of a demand driven workforce that prepares youth and adults for high demand middle skills occupations. It is aligned with regional efforts such as Upskill Houston, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative, and other programs.
The platform seeks to fill the skills gap in the downstream petrochemical industry, much of it centered in Bayport and along the Houston Ship Channel, which has seen cumulative capital investment projects reach over $40 billion and the creation of thousands of new jobs. The number of new jobs, along with a large portion of industry personnel set to retire, has caused companies to rethink their efforts in recruiting and retaining employees.
The CAP is a customized, interactive solution which supports career readiness, exploration, and recruiting. It helps current and potential employees by giving them a resource to see what careers are possible and what specific education and training qualifications they need to land their desired job.
Having a clear career path helps to ensure that employees understand where they can advance and what it takes to do so. It is felt that they will be less likely to leave the industry or their current employer if that knowledge is known and accessible. Meetings to formulate the CAP have been ongoing since July 2015. Seven Jobs Families have been identified that generally span the petrochemical industry. Those families are Production & Operations, Maintenance, Engineering, Quality Control/Assurance, Logistics & Supply Chain, Research & Development, and Health, Safety, & Environment.
The working group identified about 75 job titles that were placed with the corresponding Job Family. The group validated each of the job titles and provided descriptive elements of the job, a job summary, skillset, competencies, education and/or training requirements that would be required for that position. Members of the group then navigated through visuals and employee testimonials that would assist job seekers in understanding all aspects of the position and allow them to see the pathway to promotion.
The platform will slowly roll out in spring 2016 to workforce centers, colleges, and high schools when the participating companies will have information about real-time employment opportunities to upload. Users will be able to browse job openings, gather information on companies, see where their skill set is applicable, decide on or modify their career path, and apply to their desired job all on a single website.
This powerful tool will be an important way to find and retain a great workforce for the region.