Heather Betancourth, a representative from Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., told a crowded room of community college students what they wanted to hear: Her employer needs to fill 3,000 positions in the coming years. Starting salaries can top $100,000.
But here in the greater Houston region, dangling six-figure jobs is no longer enough to find qualified applicants for many positions. So the company has a scholarship program that covers community-college tuition, Ms. Betancourth elaborated, and pays interns around $18 an hour to work at its chemical facility.
Chevron Phillips, a joint venture between energy giants Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66, is among dozens of companies that are spending millions of dollars in the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area to train a local labor force that they say is unprepared to hold the jobs they are creating.