30 Years Later – Workforce is One of EHCMA’s Top Initiatives

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In 1987, EHCMA was founded as a collective group of chemical plants pooling together resources. During the following 20 years, baby boomers began retiring and the economy continued to grow, which led to an increasing gap in the region’s skilled workforce.

When it was determined that the industry will need up to 12,000 craft workers in place by January 2019, EHCMA established the Workforce Development Committee in 2012.

In 2014, EHCMA held its first Workforce Development Golf Tournament, which raised proceeds for local student scholarships and technical programs at community colleges in the region. In the first few years, this tournament has raised almost $1M for regional workforce development.

In May 2016, EHCMA partnered with JPMorgan Chase and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to develop PetrochemWorks.com, a site to inform students and job seekers about the thriving petrochemical industry and help them get the education they need to prepare. Now celebrating its one-year anniversary, the site helps applicants looking for interesting career opportunities in the Greater Houston region through a matchmaking mechanism to align skills, competencies and interests with careers in the industry.

With $40B in announced projects in the region and over 50 percent of the region’s current employees retiring over the next few years, workforce development has become a top initiative for the entire region. EHCMA has continued expanding its reach through its collaboration with other industry organizations, like ABC.

Last year, the Workforce Steering Team was created as a team of 11 members from EHCMA member companies and Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston (ABC). In the past year, this joint team continued to increase communication, remove barriers and increase training efficiency with a goal to increase the amount of skilled craft workers in the industry.

Continuing the momentum, the annual golf tournament has expanded to be co-hosted by EHCMA, Association of Chemical Industry of Texas (ACIT), Texas Chemical Council (TCC), and ABC. The golf tournament will be rebranded as the PetrochemWorks™ Golf Tournament, a nod to the success of the website tool and surrounding collaboration.

Looking forward, EHCMA will continue partnering with contractor companies, industry organizations and community colleges to ensure a skilled and trained workforce that matches the growth demands, as well as maintaining a sustainable workforce in the future.

While workforce may not have been a top initiative when EHCMA was founded 30 years ago, the underlying goal of competing companies pooling together resources for a common goal remains.