[Pasadena, Texas] – January, 2016
Local Non-Profit Brings Together Industry Leaders Like Dixie Chemical to Introduce Students to the Manufacturing and Chemical Industries
What to do when the local community experiences a shortage in the skilled labor workforce? Start with the future generation and spark inspiration. Non-profit group “Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas.” stepped in to address the issue and educate youth in the community through a summer camp. Community leaders like Dixie Chemical help introduce kids to the region’s booming maritime, manufacturing and chemical industries.
Seeing is Believing – Preparing Future Generations
This past summer, 22 elementary school students from the Pasadena area spent a week learning about local manufacturing and chemical industries in the Youth Manufacturing Summer Camp. They made parachutes, built electronic windmills, observed science demonstrations, took a field trip to a chemical plant, and toured the Port of Houston.
Cathy LeBleu represented Dixie Chemical and spoke to students at the camp. The shortage in skilled labor is especially affecting the petrochemical manufacturing industry and its support services, so this issue has far reaching consequences for the Pasadena-based chemical company.
A survey of students attending the camp indicated that they wanted to learn more about the petrochemical manufacturing industry and the port. The hope is that school districts will get involved in camp programs and let students know about the opportunities in this important regional industry. With these programs, students learn what manufacturing actually is and they walk away knowing what they need to do to get the education and the jobs.
Present Needs and Solutions
“Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas.” is a partnership between the Neighborhood Centers Inc. and Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. The national non-profit organization works across the country to build up America’s skilled labor work force. By their calculations, as many as 3.5 million skilled jobs will need to be filled within the next 10 years. And over 80% of manufacturing leaders like Dixie Chemical see a talent shortage in their industry.
Michelle Hundley, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Economic Alliance, explains that educating the public on the opportunities is key. “Our role is to get the message out there about the available careers, change the perception of industry jobs in people’s minds and make sure that students, parents, teachers and counselors know that (training) is affordable,” Hundley comments. “You can go to a community college, earn a technical certificate in two years and have a career that pays you $80,000 to $100,000 within a year.”
What are those technical jobs? Accordingly to Hundley, they include positions in pipe fitting, process technology, instrument technology, logistics, welding, electrics and construction.
“We need people to build, operate and maintain industry facilities.” -Michelle Hundley, Vice President of Public Affairs, Economic Alliance
By working together and with the local school districts, “Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas.” is striving to both increase opportunities for youth and tackle the labor shortage head on.
About Dixie Chemical Company:
Since 1946, Dixie Chemical has been committed to manufacturing high-quality, high-performance products that improve our world through sustainable chemistry and engineering. With 300 customers in 25 countries, Dixie Chemical is a proven partner for open innovation in thermoset materials, alkaline paper sizing, and fuel and lube markets. For more information, visit www.dixiechemical.com.