CCPI Women in Industry conference exceeds expectations

CCPI Women in Industry conference exceeds expectations

Wed Mar 2, 2016

  Students from Galena Park ISD pose after the Women in Industry Conference outside Hotel Galvez.

A total of 468 area women packed into the North Ballroom of Galveston’s Hotel Galveston recently eager to learn about careers in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries.

The number far exceeded the expectations of conference planners for this first-ever event.

“It told us there are many capable women interested in well-paying, challenging careers in what were once male-dominated industries,” said Debi Jordan, spokesperson for the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), which sponsored the event, along with several major industrial partners.

“Women came to learn about careers as process operators, instrumentation technicians, analytic techs, as well as welders, crane operators, electricians, and other skilled craft positions,” Jordan said. “They have read that industry is looking to hire more women, and they are stepping forward.”

Brazosport College was one of eight local community colleges that partnered with several major refineries and manufacturers participating at the event.

“This conference was so energetic and exciting,” said Beth Cassidy, Brazosport College Director of Workforce Development and School Partnerships. “It was invigorating to see the women working in these non-traditional careers so eagerly encouraging and offering support to the younger women currently exploring these options. The recurring statements from women currently working in these fields were how this event was needed, and how they wish something like this had been available to them when they were in high school and college. 

“I am very proud to have been a part of the organizing team for this conference,” Cassidy added.

During the morning, participants heard from women already working in the field. In the afternoon, they heard how to prepare for those careers, with information about how to train, network, interview and succeed on the job.

NASA’s Ginger Kerrick was the keynote speaker. Kerrick is a Flight Director in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center, who has, to date, supported 13 International Space Station and five joint shuttle missions.

Her topic, “The Right Stuff,” echoed a major theme of the day-long event: that women with resolve, preparation and perseverance can succeed in any career they pursue.

Sponsors of the event were the area’s nine community colleges and CCPI members: Alvin Community College, Brazosport College, College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, and Wharton County Junior College.

Industry sponsors included ExxonMobil, Jacobs, LyondellBasell, Zachry, Chevron Phillips, Covestro, INEOS, Noltex, and Occidental Chemical.