Petrochemical refineries need to replace as much as 40 percent of current employees over the next decade—due to plant expansions and an aging workforce.

The need has created a “perfect storm” for women in what was once a nearly exclusive male profession.

But no more. The region’s nine community colleges, partnering as the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), are encouraging women across the Gulf Coast to explore options in the petrochemical industry in a daylong event Friday, Feb. 19, at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

CCPI is funded by a grant from ExxonMobil.

Attendees will hear from women already working the industry about actual job experiences, how to best prepare for these careers, what training is required and how to network with other women while on the job.

The conference will include lunch and feature exhibits by area companies. Women will be given time to ask questions, meet women and industry representatives, and connect with educators, including opportunities to enroll in upcoming classes.

A morning track will provide important information about petrochemical and industrial trades career fields—and how capable, motivated women are finding success in a once male-dominated profession.

An afternoon track will help show women already employed in the industry how to take the next step on the career ladder and how to make networking a valuable ally.

Scheduled breaks during the day will provide opportunities for participants to meet industry representatives from companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips, Convestro, Noltex, Jacobs and others.

The day will end with sessions where women can learn about financial aid, child care, fast-track courses, certificate and associate degree programs at the area’s nine community colleges.

Cost for the daylong event is $20 for students and $40 for professionals. Some scholarships are available.

Learn more at or contact Kelly Dando, CCPI grant coordinator, at 281-425-6221 or