Lynne Lachenmyer, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, Houston, Texas, announces the company’s new $500,000 contribution to the Community College Petrochemical Initiative, which seeks to train students for high-skill, high-demand jobs along the Gulf Coast.The presidents and chancellors involved in the Community College Petrochemical Initiative applauded ExxonMobil’s announcement of the company’s new $500,000 contribution to the Community College Petrochemical Initiative. In attendance were, from left, Houston Community College Associate Vice Chancellor of Workforce Instruction Dr. Madeline Burillo, San Jacinto College Chancellor Brenda Hellyer, ExxonMobil Chemical Company Senior Vice President Lynne Lachenmyer, College of the Mainland President Dr. Beth Lewis, Brazosport College President Dr. Millicent Valek, Lee College President Dr. Dennis Brown, Alvin Community College President (retiring) Dr. A. Rodney Allbright and Galveston College President Dr. W. Myles Shelton.

ExxonMobil is committing an additional $500,000 in financial support to expand its commitment to $1 million for the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), which seeks to train students for high-skill, high-demand jobs in the petrochemical industry.

The Community College Petrochemical Initiative consists of community colleges and school districts in the greater Houston and Texas Gulf Coast area: College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Alvin Community College, Brazosport College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College and Wharton County Junior College. The CCPI shares course materials and best practices among the region’s nine community colleges, and each provides skills training for the region’s businesses and industries.

In June 2013, ExxonMobil made its first $500,000 contribution to begin the expansion of community college training.

“We expect thousands of jobs to be coming to the Houston area because of new industry investment to capitalize on the abundant, affordable supply of U.S. natural gas to produce chemicals,” said Lynne Lachenmyer, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “This program is about preparing area residents to fill those jobs and launch satisfying careers in a critical industry.”

This week as a Texas Livestock Show and Rodeo sponsor, CCPI is staffing an interactive exhibit to promote its technical training programs to qualify students to meet the chemical industry’s current and future workforce needs. The presidents and chancellors of the colleges, as well as high school and college students interested in chemical industry jobs, are also participating.

"The nine CCPI-affiliated community colleges have joined together to spread the word about the great careers we can help launch,” said Dr. Dennis Brown, president of Lee College and chairman of the CCPI consortium. “The level of interest from residents in the greater Houston area has been tremendous.”

CCPI expects to attract as many as 50,000 students and educators across the state over the next five years and fast-track them through certification and degree programs in a variety of technical fields, including instrumentation, computer and electrical technology, machining, millwrighting, welding, pipefitting, and other skills and competencies needed by the chemical manufacturing and refining industries.

“ExxonMobil has stepped up to help community colleges recruit and train more workers,” said COM Dean of Industrial Education Bill Raley. “The technical jobs that CCPI prepares students for are high-demand, high-skill and high-wage.”

At an average annual salary of $99,700, the Texas chemical industry’s pay scale is 46 percent higher than the average for manufacturing. Texas is the largest chemical producing state in the country, supporting more than 73,000 jobs today, with another 81,000 jobs expected through announced investments in new and existing chemical industry capacity.

The CCPI’s website provides information to locate training programs at area community colleges.