by Pete Avalos, MC Energy, Auto and Diesel Technology Chair
Oil and gas companies are always on the lookout for highly skilled talent when looking
to fill open positions. Where do they look for a strong talent pool? How do they generate
positive leads to fill those positions? What are the skills they look for? These are
some questions that recruiters, human resources, and talent acquisition departments
ask every time they must either replace a person or hire for a new position.
Midland College (MC) Energy Technology and Diesel Technology Programs have developed
strong partnerships with local oil and gas companies to help answer some of these
questions and fill the employment gap here in the Permian Basin. There is representation
from upstream, midstream, and downstream companies. The partnerships are made up of
large corporations such as Chevron, Oxy, Ovintiv and SM Energy as well as independents
such as Endeavor and CrownQuest, just to mention a few. These companies are a very
integral part of the educational process.
Where do they look for a strong talent pool? Conveniently located in the Permian
Basin, MC provides an ideal starting point. As a community college, MC is committed
to provide a strong talent pool with individuals that possess a strong foundational
skill set. All faculty in the Energy and Diesel Programs have industry experience
in oil and gas or the diesel equipment industries. This ensures that students are
not only receiving the theory aspect of instruction, but also instruction from a practical
real-world experience. All courses consist of lecture plus actual hands-on labs. The
hands-on labs help to reinforce content and allows students to apply what they have
learned in the classroom.
How do they generate positive leads to fill those positions? Industry partners are
invited to speak to students about opportunities within their respective companies.
Some of them attend classes as guest lecturers or speak about “a day in the life of
an engineer, field service tech, natural gas compressor mechanic, etc.” These opportunities
provide students with the day to day functions of a job in the oil and gas industry.
Moreover, it establishes name recognition for the company and allows students to begin
networking with individual companies.
What are the skills they look for? Every company wants an individual that is already
well versed and experienced, but in reality, those types of individuals are a rare
find. MC works hand in hand with our industry partners to ensure that students are
well equipped with the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in the oil and
gas industry. Our advisory board which consists of a diverse group of individuals
from these companies provide feedback in regards to new innovations and changes within
the industry. Based on their input MC will make curriculum changes to the Energy and
Diesel programs to ensure students possess skills that are current and relative.
The partnership goes beyond providing subject matter expert involvement. These companies
also provide scholarships as well as donations of equipment. Scholarships support
students in the Energy and Diesel Programs. Over the course of a year Oxy, Chevron,
Ovintiv, Archrock, Midland West Rotary Club have donated in excess of $35,000.00 toward
scholarships. Archrock donated a compressor package valued at approximately $200,00.00.
Other industry partners such as Endeavor, JohnDeere Yellowhouse, and Caterpillar have
donated everything from pumps, engines, transmissions, to downhole equipment. They
are making an investment in our student’s future with these types of donations.
Partnerships between Midland College and the oil and gas industry is an important
and vital part to developing a well-rounded skilled individual that is prepared to
enter the workforce. Midland College is the gateway for these employers in being able
to provide an employee with a fundamentally strong base. We are extremely fortunate
to be in the Permian Basin. We are here to support each other for the long haul.