COM interns graduate with jobs in hand
For most students, the thrill of college graduation quickly fades into the challenge of job searching. Chase Douglas graduated from College of the Mainland not only with an associate degree but also with a full-time job.
This fall he worked in LyondellBasell’s process technology internship program in conjunction with COM and was hired immediately after completing the 16-week, paid internship.
“The field is very competitive. I’m lucky I got the internship,” said Douglas, who interned with six other COM students.
The internship allows LyondellBasell to evaluate potential employees, shorten training time and reduce turnover rates.
“Some of the main qualities we are looking for in a candidate include the ability to learn, the ability to interact with people, self-motivation and punctuality,” said David Gosnay, operations manager of derivatives/utilities for LyondellBasell. “The interns are placed on a shift in one of our operating units and begin working with an experienced operator. They shadow the operator and eventually begin training in a specific area. If we offer a full-time position, we try to keep the intern in the area that they trained in.”
The program gives students real-world experience in a global corporation.
“Everybody’s really eager to help you. Everybody’s been really welcoming and taken me in since the first day,” Douglas said.
Immediately following the internship, he was hired as a full-time process technician at LyondellBasell in Channelview, doing what he loves.
“Putting the knowledge of my degree in perspective and applying it is the thing I most enjoy,” said Douglas.
Tim Martin, another COM graduate who interned and was hired by LyondellBasell, agrees.
“In every aspect I was fully prepared by my education at COM. The recovery unit, distillation towers, heat exchange and coolers, just about every piece of equipment, we worked with in school,” he said.
Hands-on experience equipment is one of the things that makes COM unique. As part of its partnership with COM, LyondellBasell recently sent several employees to review COM’s process technology operations equipment and suggest updates.
“We’re the only college in the local area where students run the process technology equipment in class just like in the plants,” said Jerry Duncan, COM process technology program coordinator. “Their recommendations will modernize our facility significantly.”
Martin enjoyed the hands-on experience and now works in the same recovery unit in which he trained.
“You stay busy, and it’s work where you’re accomplishing something,” he said. A former employee at a construction company that went out of business, he was originally attracted to the field because “everybody that I’ve come in contact with in this field has been happy at their job.”
Martin and Douglas both work 12-hour shifts, with four days on and four days off.
“I love the four days off,” said Martin. “Also, I enjoy the productivity and teamwork that comes with the job.
“COM and the instructors did a great job in preparing me for success in this new career. It was a good decision because I definitely like what I do. Hopefully I’ll get to keep doing this until I retire.”