Women sought for high-paying jobs

Norco Manufacturing Complex offers ‘Date with Destiny’

Norco Manufacturing Complex’s Date With Destiny program was created to literally build a pipeline for women to enter the petrochemical field – and it’s working.

When the first program was started seven years ago, it drew 35 women, a number that has steadily grown by 25 percent a year and even more in the last two years as word of the program reaches more women, said Theron Williams, Motiva’s learning and development manager in Norco.

“The purpose of this event is to encourage, educate and empower women in our surrounding parishes to consider careers in the oil and gas industry as an operation technician or maintenance craft professional,” Williams said.

The seventh annual Date with Destiny program is April 30 at the Hilton New Orleans Airport, 901 Airline Drive, Kenner. The morning session is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., afternoon, 1 – 4 p.m., and evening, 5:30 – 9 p.m.

With the theme of “Educate. Encourage. Empower,” the program’s first session focuses on education where participants learn about representing themselves, their talents and ability to get the interview.

The all-day event features three sessions, which is open to area women at no charge.

The first session focuses on best practices for job seeking such as resume building, interviewing tips, and mock interviews.

Norco Manufacturing Complex representatives from Shell and Motiva offer insight into their two-year, PTEC and maintenance crafts programs.

The event concludes with a dinner, personal testimonies from women in the industry, and a panel discussion.

“The vast majority of folks I’ve seen that come through this event, it’s been a life changing event,” said Williams, who knows firsthand the impact of this field as someone who grew up in Norco. “I have seen and know when folks are able to get in this industry and seen what they can do – the sky’s the limit.”

The second session addresses education, such as getting scholarships to afford attending a two-year degree from a community college in the classes necessary to step into a career as a process or maintenance technician.

The third session is about encouragement coming from a panel of Norco Manufacturing Complex’s female employees

“The community colleges here have provided a lot to Shell,” said Fred Whipple, manager U.S. Diversity and Inclusion with Shell Oil Co. “We have hired hundreds and hundreds of folks out of the community colleges.”

Williams said the message  is that this pipeline offers women the opportunity to step into a high-paying job ($60,000 range) compared to possibly earning $40,000 with a four-year college degree.

As the program grew, the Norco Manufacturing Complex started getting more female employees from Geismer to Convent to Norco.

Seven years ago, Williams said he and his human resource managers agreed it was time to do something different to make Norco Manufacturing Complex’s workers more diverse.

Initiatives were developed, but they challenged themselves to do more and they focused on developing internships in high schools and community colleges in process technology and maintenance technology.

“One of our core values is diversity,” said Erin Lattin, human resources development with Motiva in Convent. “I think it’s important that we engage women more proactively.”

This is where Norco Manufacturing Complex’s diversity pipeline began, which was intended to help women decide if these fields were a good fit for them.

Williams said shift work is not for everyone, which can require an employee to check gauges in 20-degree weather or work around holidays with family.

“It takes dedication to do it,” he said of the work.

To register, visit https://starcite.smarteventscloud.com/datewithdestinyLouisiana.

For more information, contact Williams at theron.williams@motivaent.com.

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