Introducing System and Process Operators. Read any front page across the nation in the last couple months and it’s the same story over and over: the recovery is slow and not enough jobs have been created. Political candidates keep outlining how they will create more jobs as the president is trying to sell another jobs plan. And still the unemployment rate sticks at high levels. It has become an all-too-familiar story these days—Americans want more and better jobs. Luckily for the Houston region, there’s plenty to go around. With strong industrial ties to energy, Houston continues to thrive with a large pool of jobs for a wide range of skilled workers.
Recently leaking a best kept secret, CNN reported on the uptick in jobs in the Houston region specifically in the oil and gas sector. A huge demand for Process and Systems Operators continues to exist in chemical plants across the region. The full video report can be found here, but in short, the report highlights the increasing demand in such occupations for local industry because of a workforce quickly retiring and expanding business by local plants. Truth be told, several thousands of these positions will need to be filled over the coming decade. So what’s the problem?
“One of the problems,” cites Nancy Tootle “is the lack of awareness. People just don’t know about these good paying jobs!” Tootle’s made it her mission, as industry liaison to the energy sector, to fix this problem. “You don’t see Process Operators on CSI, Glee or Dexter. Kids, let alone adults, have no idea that the job exists.”
The wind seems to be shifting though. Over the past few years, Workforce Solutions has dedicated resources to ensure the talent pipeline is filled. Process Operators remain on the list of occupations in demand that financial aid has been set aside for. Educational materials about what they do, where they work and what it takes to become one have also been generated by Workforce Solutions to promote these occupations. Tootle has also aided local businesses in partnering with local school districts and community colleges to create educational programs that matriculate students from high school into community college and finally into these good paying jobs.
Such strides are beginning to get the word out about occupations in process technology, but more needs to be done. The more that these programs and the occupations they cover get marketed to the public including youth and those unemployed the greater the opportunity will be for our local workforce and industry to prosper in the future.
For more information these opportunities contact your local Workforce Solutions career office.
Michael Webster serves as an Industry Liaison to the Education Sector for the Gulf Coast Workforce Board. With over a decade of experience in teaching and staff development, Michael is passionate about ensuring all students achieve an enriching and successful life beyond high school. In his current capacity, he services school districts in developing a strong workforce and in delivering career resources to students and their families.