Pursue a Degree and Career in the Field of Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is one of the newest and fastest growing career fields in the petrochemical industry, with more than 16,000 entry level jobs available. Electrical engineering technicians design, develop, test and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment on industrial sites.  They work with a wide array of devices, components and systems from tiny microchips to huge supercomputers. To become one, a person must have a certificate or Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology and may be required to complete a nationally certified Apprenticeship program, where an apprentice must complete 2,000 hours of supervised work.

3261

That is where Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges come in. Earning your two-year degree through one of our member schools will help to lay the foundation for your success in a career you love. Colleges like San Jacinto or Alvin College offer hands-on, interesting classes such as Electrical Theory, DC/AC Circuits Fundamentals, Computer Networking Technology, and Fundamentals of Electronics and Math. These courses will pave the way for your associate degree, as well as help you enhance your critical thinking, reading comprehension, problem solving, and troubleshooting skills.

The type of industries you can expect to work in with an A.S. in electrical engineering include:

  • Research and Development
  • Engineering services firms
  • Manufacturing
  • The Federal Government

In addition, students who complete their associate degree in electrical technology may often find themselves working for large industrial plants, public utilities, government agencies, electrical contractors, building contractors, and construction companies. Electrical engineers and technicians also work less commonly in department store chains, hospitals and school districts.

What a Degree in Electrical Technology Offers

If you decide to move forward with this career path, the average salary is something our students will appreciate. Generally, electrical engineering technicians can expect to earn anywhere from $30,000 to $80,000 per year with an associate degree. In 2014 the median pay was about $30 per hour or more than $60,000 per year. And, you will be in good company should you choose this career path. Several famous electrical engineers are Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

One of the hardest challenges for college students is finding a career with available jobs when they graduate. Prospective students should know that a career in the petrochemical industry guarantees a job in the field. Exxon Mobile is coordinating programs in our community colleges to share expertise and has committed to $500,000 for a workforce training program. There are thousands of jobs coming to the Houston area and across the Gulf Coast because of this huge new investment in the chemical industry.

“The chemical industry supports 73,000 high-paying Texas manufacturing jobs and will add more under announced expansion plans by our industry, including at ExxonMobil,” said Steve Pryor, President of the ExxonMobil Chemical Company.

Houston and the surrounding area have a thriving electrical engineering field, and if you’re interested in an electrical engineering degree, there will be plenty of jobs and opportunity awaiting you.

Put Your Creative and Science Skills to Work with CADD

CADD (1)

If you like art, math, and science, you’re a great candidate for an associate degree in Drafting/Design technology. You’ll learn how to use computer-aided drafting & design (CADD) technology to make drawings and computer simulations support architects or mechanical, electrical, or industrial engineers.

You may also study manufacturing processes, electrical and wiring processes, or building materials and engineering practices, depending on how you want to specialize with your drafting skills. An associate of applied science degree puts you on the path to becoming an architectural or civil drafter, electrical or electronics drafter, or a mechanical drafter.

You’ll learn not only CADD tools, but also traditional methods of drafting blueprints and diagrams. Drafting jobs are good for creative people, because you don’t create the same schematic or drawing twice! They also pay well, with a median annual salary in the Houston/Gulf Coast area of nearly $50,000.

drafting

​Drafters must have a good eye and enjoy detailed work. You’ll also need to have good communications skills because you’ll work with planners, architects, and engineers to perfect diagrams and implement what they need accurately. You’ll help translate their ideas and designs into blueprints and technical diagrams that construction workers can actually use to build things, that electricians can use to run wire properly, and even so plumbers can run piping correctly. Most of your work will occur in an office environment, working on a computer, but you may also have the opportunity to go see your diagrams and designs put to use on a building site or work floor.

Here’s the best part – you can get your associate degree in drafting technology in two years at one of our community college member schools at a fraction of the cost of some online private schools. Our tuition and fees are extremely affordable, especially for students who reside in the district. You can find our communities colleges and their services areas here. Houston’s petrochemical and manufacturing industries are growing exponentially, and if you’re interested in a drafting degree, you’ll have plenty of jobs to choose from when you graduate.

Supply Chain Management – More Than a Buzzword

supply-chain-background-concept-glowing-13489447The supply chain is a critical system used by many companies that involve multiple parties such as manufacturers, suppliers, transporters, and warehouses that all contribute to the movement of products from the point of origin to consumers. Specific functions of the supply chain can include distribution, marketing, new product development, finance, and operations.

Because there is continual movement in the supply chain process, any disruption could negatively impact a company’s revenue and profit and leave customers dissatisfied. You only have to look at a recent iPhone issue that Apple faced to see how a supply chain can be affected.

The production of display panels for Apple’s iPhone 6 was interrupted when the backlight used to brighten the screen had to be changed, according to Reuters. The redesigned display screen slowed the production of the iPhone 6 because the screen assembly had to be paused. Production has resumed, but suppliers are scrambling to quickly produce a sufficient amount of screens for the iPhone’s anticipated launch this fall. It’s unclear how the issue will affect the launch.

As the above example illustrates, any setback in the supply chain process could have ramifications that ripple across the process. It’s important to have supply chain managers who can oversee the life cycle of goods, anticipate any issues, and respond accordingly so movement of goods won’t be disrupted.

Supply chain management professionals are in demand across several industries, including oil and gas, automotive, food and beverage, and electronics. There are many opportunities to work in various areas of the supply chain such as logistics, inventory control, purchasing and more.

Supply Chain Manager Skills, Responsibilities and Salary

Supply chain managers have several responsibilities, such as:

  • offer guidance on selection of suppliers
  • analyze pricing trends that may impact the time of purchases
  • coordinate the activities involved with the distribution of the products
  • manage the process of identifying and securing materials

Another supply chain management professional is a logistic technician/manager. Their duties include:

  • plan, oversee, or coordinate transportation, storage, or distribution of goods and services
  • develop both strategies and forecasting plans to keep sufficient inventory by serving as the liaison between company and supplier
  • confirm products are arriving at their destinations in a timely fashion

Individuals who pursue supply chain management careers usually possess solid problem-solving skills, good time-management skills, an ability to see “the big picture” and details, and cab collaborate well with others.

In Houston and the surrounding area, there is a projection of nearly 50,000 supply chain management jobs by 2016. The hourly wage at the high end of the pay scale is $54.34. There will be an estimated 4,320 logistician jobs by 2016 with hourly wage of $65.77 (high pay).

The member colleges of the Texas Gulf Coast Community College Consortium (TGCCCC) offer programs of study in both logistics and supply chain management. Contact a TGCCCC member school to learn more about the coursework and career opportunities in this exciting and challenging field.

ExxonMobil Projects that are Bringing So Many Jobs to the Gulf Coast

ExxonMobil Chemical Company is making it’s most expensive investment in the United States, ever, with its expansion of the Baytown plant. ExxonMobil is installing one of the largest steam crackers in the world at Baytown, making it the largest producer of ethylene for the company. Steam cracking is used to break petroleum down into more useful elements for humans.

ExxonMobil is also adding  two new units to the Mont Belvieu plastics plant. Texas will become ExxonMobil’s largest polyethylene supply point in the world when that project is finished. This capacity increase will help ExxonMobil meet the rapidly growing global demand for high-value polyethylene products.

This video explains more about the projects.

ExxonMobil Celebrates Construction Project and Petrochemical Scholarship Recipients

ExxonMobil celebrated last week the announcement of a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker construction project at its Baytown complex, and marked the occasion by recognizing 30 scholarship recipients who plan to pursue petrochemical careers.

The expansion project will employ about 10,000 construction workers, create 4,000 related jobs in nearby communities, and add 350 permanent positions at the Baytown facility.

More than 50,000 construction trades and petrochemical workers will be needed in the next decade across the Texas Gulf Coast region as refineries expand their capacity and replace retiring workers.

ExxonMobil petrochemical scholarship recipients

Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, stands alongside 30 students recently selected by their local community colleges to receive scholarships for petrochemical training.

To help fill the demand for skilled workers, ExxonMobil has committed $1 million to the Community College Petrochemical Initiative, a collaboration between nine Texas Gulf Coast community colleges.  The initiative aims to recruit and train the next generation of petrochemical workers.

Booming Texas Cities – Infographic

In 2013, four cities in Texas were considered the fastest growing cities in America, and that trend continues on into 2014. The economic growth of the four cities – Houston, Austin, Odessa, and Dallas – can be seen throughout the cities’ infrastructure, from their low unemployment rates to their high gross metropolitan products. Texas’ fast-growing economy and easy recovery from the recent recession in the late 2000s can be attributed to its business-friendly regulatory environment, lack of state income tax for corporations or people, and highly-educated labor market.

People aren’t the only ones flocking to live in Texas. Major corporations believe in the Lone Star state, as well. We hold the record for the most Fortune 500 companies headquartered in any state and other businesses like Toyota, State Farm and ExxonMobil are helping to bring thousands of jobs to further grow the booming state. Find out more about how these cities and companies are helping to make Texas the great state that it is.

Embed this Infographic

Booming Texas Cities Infographic

Construction Trade Jobs In Demand

Industrial PlumberPlumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are among the occupations that have a bright job outlook, according to both federal and Texas projections. These jobs are forecast to increase by 21 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics. Locally, the Texas Gulf Coast region projects a 29 percent increase in occupations for pipefitters and steamfitters.

It should be noted that each of the occupations – plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters – are part of the same trade, which is construction. However, each occupation is specialized, even though they all share some similar tasks. Pipefitters, plumbers, and steamfitters assemble, install, change and repair pipelines or pipe systems that transport water, steam, air, or other types of liquids and gases.

The demand for these jobs can be attributed to several factors, including the flourishing petrochemical sector and a general lack of workers trained for those jobs.

Job Duties and the Workplace

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters perform the following tasks:

  • Install pipes and fixtures;
  • Analyze blueprints and follow state and local building codes;
  • Decide the amount of material and type of equipment needed;
  • Inspect and test pipe systems and pipelines that have been installed;
  • Troubleshoot systems that are not working; and
  • Replace worn parts.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pipefitters usually work in the manufacturing and petrochemical industries, where they’re installing large pipe systems that carry petroleum or chemicals, for instance. Plumbers, on the other hand, typically work in the residential area and light industrial construction. Steamfitters install pipe systems that move liquids or gases under high pressure conditions. Many steamfitters have jobs at large college campuses, industrial plants, or power plants.

Pipefitters, plumbers and steamfitters can earn up to $31.24  per hour. In May 2012, the median annual wage for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was $49,140, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Training Future Pipefitters

Many pipefitters participate in apprenticeships offered by employers who provide hands-on training. Formal training is also available at community colleges like the member schools of the Texas Gulf Coast Consortium of Community Colleges (TGCCCC), where students can receive top-notch instruction that takes into consideration industry requirements and industry best practices that will serve students well in their future jobs. The instruction in the classroom consists of teaching students the skills that they would learn in an apprenticeship program.

The TGCCCC member schools are in contact with companies in the petrochemical sector to stay updated about current practices, innovations and equipment that are being utilized in the field. Instructors then teach and share this valuable information with their students. Contact your local community college to learn more about degrees and certification programs that are being offered.

Jobs for the Next Wave of Machinists

Machinists - TGCCCCThe perception that the petrochemical and manufacturing fields have hazardous, gritty work environments where employees churn out repetitive, monotonous work could not be farther from the truth nowadays. Both of these technology-driven fields are flourishing – and providing high-paying jobs in safe, clean working environments – making the need for skilled workers such as machinists even more critical.

Machinists set up and operate a variety of powerful tools that are either computer-controlled or mechanically-controlled in order to produce accurate metal parts, instruments, and tools for engines and other automated products. As industries such as petrochemical and manufacturing experience surges, it’s vital to train future machinists to help keep jobs in the United States, which in turn benefits our economy.

The job outlook for machinists is favorable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast the demand for machinists to increase about 7 percent, adding about 29,000 jobs, through 2020. One of the reasons for the growth is because many employees who occupied machinist jobs are retiring, and machinist jobs will need to be filled by new, trained specialists.

In states such as Texas, the oil and gas sector is driving the demand for skilled workers, particularly in areas such as Houston, where the petrochemical industry is facing a shortage. While jobs are available for machinists in the Houston region, employers are having a difficult time finding people who possess the advanced skills and understanding of machining technologies to fill these positions. To help equip students with the training needed for these jobs, the member schools of the Texas Gulf Coast Consortium of Community Colleges offer high-quality, affordable instruction regarding machining and other subjects that will prepare them for their careers with a two-year Associate Degree.

The Skills of a Machinist

Petrochemical and manufacturing companies make substantial investments in their equipment. A team of machinists will be responsible for operating various pieces of equipment. Therefore, it’s essential that machinists are team players with good communication skills. While a machinist doesn’t need to have a four-year degree, they should possess math and science skills. Machinists typically carry out the following duties:

  • Review and work from blueprints, computer-aided design (CAD), and other materials
  • Set up and operate various tools including computer numerical control (CNC) tools
  • Turn, mill, drill and grind machine parts to certain parameters
  • Plan and troubleshoot the production process
  • Oversee the feed and speed of machines
  • Examine and test completed products for accuracy

Machinists use a variety of tools (either manually controlled or CNC) such as lathes, milling machines, and grinders to produce precision metal parts. There will be a projected 18,775 jobs available in 2016 for machinists in the Houston region. The median hourly pay for machinists is $19.64.

The machinist trade is continually evolving, so machinists will need up-to-date training. Member schools of the Texas Gulf Coast Consortium of Community Colleges offer reputable academic programs that will pave the way for the next generation of successful machinists.

Why Should I Work in the Petrochemical Industry and Why Now?

iStock_000000807449Smallv2When you’re growing up, your hopes and dreams for your adult life always lead to the glamorous side of life. You want to be a rock star, or an NFL running back, or maybe you want to go to Hollywood and be a big star. But, then, somewhere around high school you start to realize maybe you like small town life and maybe you won’t be one of the 0.1% of athletes who becomes a world champion NBA forward. And, that turns out to be better than OK – it turns out to be awesome, because there is a whole world of opportunity for success right in your own backyard.

Growing up in the Houston/Texas Gulf Coast area, you probably take for granted big corporate names like ExxonMobil. You forget that it’s one of the five largest companies in the entire world, and that its employees in Texas alone earn billions of dollars combined each year. In fact, petrochemical companies like ExxonMobil, Dow, and BASF have thousands of jobs open or coming open in the next decade. And, those jobs provide high pay scales, great benefits, and something no high school dreamer thinks about when dreaming glamorous dreams – stability. These companies are profitable, they’re expanding in our area, and they’ve lasted for decades and will last for decades more.

Some estimates of the petrochemical expansion in the Houston/Gulf Coast region put the total spent on new plants and expansions at $15 billion, with 20,000 new jobs created. So many jobs are open that companies can’t find enough skilled workers to fill them – and that’s just in our area. The huge new natural gas operations in north and west Texas and other parts of the country are also creating massive numbers of high-paying jobs for the same skill sets.

Pipe fitters, welders, and electricians are all in very high demand, and the salaries reflect the competition among companies for the trained workers out there. That’s why ExxonMobil has partnered, through Lee University, with our Consortium to help recruit and train as many skilled employees as possible. BASF has separately partnered with Brazosport College, another member, to train workers. And, all of this high demand is great news for you – because you can make a lot of money, with a two-year Associate Degree, right here and right now.

With this high demand and worker shortage, creating lots of overtime opportunities, many employees in the career fields we are training are making $100,000 or more each year. That’s comparable to what a lawyer or stockbroker at a big firm would make – but with six or more years of college education, instead of two. It sounds too good to be true, but you can browse the wage data in our Community College Petrochemical Initiative section and see for yourself. All of that data is from real-world sources, compiled by an independent agency.

We’re living in an interesting time right now. Because of the growing natural gas, oil, and petrochemical industries, there has probably never been a quicker path to high-income jobs for young people than there is right now. Who knows – maybe mechanical drafter will replace “running back for the Texans” as a dream job. Alright, alright – it never will. But hey, a high-paying, stable, local career with a community college education … that’s a pretty nice back-up plan!

Wanted: Community College Instructors in Houston

TGCCCC Petrochemical DegreesThe expanding petrochemical industry in the Houston/Gulf Coast region is providing opportunities for tens of thousands of students to get a two-year degree at our community colleges and go straight to work for high wages in the next decade. ExxonMobil and other petrochemical and oil & gas corporations are expected to have thousands more jobs opening in the next decade than they will have qualified applicants. So, they’ve given us the task of educating and training the workforce they need in the coming years. We’re more than happy to do that – it fits our member colleges’ mission to a T.

However, our Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) described on this site has left us with a little workforce issue of our own. Our member colleges don’t have enough instructors to teach all of those CCPI students! While we’re recruiting new students for these courses, we also have to recruit new teachers. Don’t get us wrong – it’s a great problem to have.

And, our need can be a big benefit to you, because you might be qualified to teach our courses even though you’ve never taken a teaching course and might not have a four-year degree yourself. For instance, if you’re an expert pipefitter and you have the experience and background to prove it, you might qualify to teach a piping course with only a high school diploma. If you have an associate or bachelor degree with more experience, that’s even better – but your skills and experience are what we really need to pass along to our students.

One great thing about our petrochemical industry in the Houston/Gulf Coast area is that the companies tend to get employees young and keep them. People often start with ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical or other petrochemical company in their early 20s, and because of good pay and benefits, they may be able to retire at 55 or 60. That leaves relatively young retirees with a lot of time and energy that they can put to good – and profitable – use by teaching the next generation of petrochemical workers. The hours are flexible, we have campuses all over the region, which ensures you a pretty easy commute, and the wages we pay vary by college, but they will be competitive on an hourly basis.

So, if you have an associate degree in computer technology and worked in computer maintenance for three or more years, you can have a second career teaching at one of our community colleges. Or, if you have an A.S. in welding and you’ve been a professional welder for three or more years, we need you to apply and come teach our students.

Every surging industry in the United States creates career opportunities at many levels. It’s up to you – and us – to identify the opportunities that fit you. These teaching opportunities in the vocational fields are historically rare, but the petrochemical boom is far from over – and it’s not the only growing industry in Texas. We need instructors and students in the healthcare field, as well.

Take a look at the petrochemical instructor page we have, and then go visit the individual community college job pages listed at the bottom to see openings at a college near you. You can apply for those openings online, or if you have questions, just contact the career departments for the individual schools. You may have a second career just waiting for you. And, you know it won’t be that annoying when your friends start calling you “Professor”!