BOWIE — The Oil and Gas Technology program at North Central Texas College may be relatively new, but that hasn’t stopped some big companies from hiring program graduates.

Chevron Oil representatives were on the NCTC Bowie campus this past fall to visit and interview students for positions around the United States. Chevron interviewed 25 students and made three full-time offers and two internship offers to students.

Two have already started their new jobs after graduating in December. Colby May is currently working in San Antonio and Joey Hodgkins is currently in Nocona. Both are now full-time Chevron employees.

Three other NCTC students who are still in the Oil and Gas Technology program were also chosen by Chevron. Amy Schrick was offered full-time employment, while Billy Schmer and Daniel Hendricks were both offered internships.

Schrick’s new job will take her to Rangely, Colo., located in the northwest part of the state about an hour north of Grand Junction. After graduating from NCTC this spring, she will report to Midland on May 20, for Chevron’s two-week boot camp for safety training, background checks and drug testing. After that, she will be stationed in Colorado for a minimum of six months.

“I haven’t ever lived outside of Texas, so it will be different but I’m excited,” she said. “Chevron is a really great company and I got great benefits.”

Schrick was an accountant in the health care industry for 10 years, but recently she found herself looking for a new career.

“The last two health care companies I worked for, because of all the changes, one company closed their doors and the other outsourced to India, so it left me without a job,” she said. “I feel that gas and oil has more security in it because you have the option of an office job, or you have the option of a job that incorporates both field and paper work.”

Her family has a long history of working in the energy industry, so joining the Oil and Gas Technology program at NCTC seemed like the right thing to do.

“My dad is in the oil business and a lot of my family has been working in the gas and oil industry since before I was born,” she said. “Back then it was a lot of manual labor, but now it has become more electronic with different options of things you can do outside the field.”

She said the training she has received at NCTC has prepared her for the job she will be undertaking.

“We’ve got good teachers and we have a lot of instrumentation,” she said. “We do lots of projects in class that help us get familiar with the field.”

For Steve Burnett, the coordinator of the NCTC Oil and Gas Technology program, having so many students find employment is exciting.

“Chevron was here for two complete days and spent between 45 minutes to an hour with each student,” he said. “It was a very intense interview process. For them to come in and get 20 percent of our students is really a big deal. It validates what we are trying to do with the students and it will help us focus as well on the feedback we get from Chevron on what they expect from our students. Industry input and industry cooperation is just huge.”

Burnett adds that the feedback he has already received from Chevron has been positive.

“These students will go right in and fit in their programs,” he said. “They want them to have Associate’s degrees so they can move them up to managerial positions. Also Chevron has a great program where they can get their Bachelor’s degrees.”

Chevron isn’t the only company who are taking note of the outstanding graduates of the NCTC Oil and Gas Technology program.

“We are getting out there more all the time,” Burnett said. “Select Energy just came in last week and picked up our last four interns.”

The program at NCTC is also gaining attention world-wide. Six current students were raised in different parts of Africa but were living in the United States before coming to the college. There is currently one student that came from Cameroon.

Last fall, the program graduated two students from Ethiopia and one from India. There are also students who have moved from Utah, California, New Jersey and Oklahoma to attend classes at NCTC. Burnett has also received proposals from the African countries of Nigeria and Libya wanting to send as many as 200 students at a time for training.

“The primary problem we have come across with both of these proposals is that the countries want customized oil and gas training,” he said. “With the rate we are growing, there is no way we could customize a program for them. We are up 35 percent from last spring and this past fall we doubled in size from the fall of 2011.  We just do not have the resources to customize our program.”

Most people might think that the small, local community college is more for students rightk out of high school. In the Oil and Gas Technology program at NCTC, the average age of the student is 40. Most have worked in other industries, many already have a degree and all are highly motivated.

“We have several students that have retired from one career and are seeking new careers,” Burnett said.

None of the success stories of the program would be possible without the support of the local industry and the communities of Bowie and Graham. Select Energy and Bell Supply in Gainesville, along with Ginnings Company in Wichita Falls are all very supportive and are using the 2013 class as interns to give them field-level experiences. The Oil and Gas Technology program at NCTC offers programs on both the Bowie and Graham campuses. To learn more about the program, contact Burnett at (940) 872-4001, ext. 5219 or at sburnett@nctc.edu.

 

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