Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., an organization based out of the greater Houston area, has been struggling to fill positions lately. These aren’t minimum wage spots, however. The company can’t secure talent for jobs with starting salaries of $100,000 or more. According to The Wall Street Journal, the area’s skills gap is making it difficult to find qualified workers, so the company is taking action to avoid leaving upwards of 3,000 positions unfilled over the next few years.
Companies start with students
Instead of waiting for qualified candidates to apply, Chevron Phillips is essentially helping create the next batch of applicants. The organization has partnered with local community colleges, offering talented students scholarship packages and internships that pay around $18 per hour. The Wall Street Journal noted that Chevron Phillips is just one of the companies in the Houston area targeting potential candidates while they’re still in college. Many other companies have also adopted this approach in hopes of minimizing the gap between people seeking work and the skills needed to perform available jobs.
“This is something that was necessary to ensure the supply of workers that we need,” Peter Cella, Chevron Phillips’s chief executive, told the news source.
While redirecting the goals and training of college students might seem like enough to create a new generation of skilled workers, the Greater Houston Partnership, a local business association, is targeting early childhood education. The coalition of multiple prominent businesses, including Exxon Mobile Corp., is providing industry-based education to children in pre-kindergarten.
Skills gap a nationwide issue
Fortune magazine reported that the skills gap is a growing issue across all of the U.S., with two-thirds of American companies unable to fill positions due to a lack of qualified applicants. Much of this has to do with rapidly changing technology, which has many positions constantly evolving. The source explained that developing necessary skills during the initial education process is key, but that businesses should also implement and encourage participation in training courses.