JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For the sixth year, Chevron hosted a career fair for hundreds of Jackson County students. In years past, high school students were involved in the fair. This year was different with more than 400 middle school students taking part.
Several stations were set up throughout the Pelican Landing Conference Center in Moss Point for students to learn about energy production, engineering, chemistry, as well as other career choices. The goal is to reach young minds before high school, according to Chevron General Manager Bruce Chinn.
"We've got some programs going now with middle school students in Jackson County and I think it's important to begin to expose them earlier and begin the excitement about what a STEM education can be all about," Chinn said.
Part of that education is taking a tour of the Chevron refinery, complete with a look inside the control room that runs the entire operation.
"This place is so cool and awesome. It made me learn about stuff like safety rules," Loumarkus Chambers said.
"I like how they're teaching us about centrifugal force, like the balls thing over there. It was very cool," Sky Paulk said. "I think it's very cool how they made us think about the future."
Many of the students said they had no idea about the varied career opportunities that exist in the energy sector. Many were surprised that you don't have to go to college to get a high-paying, long lasting job.
Technical training at two-year community colleges can start many students on the way to a lucrative career path.
"Every kid does not have to go to college. There are other opportunities out there that pay really well, that gives them the exposure that they may desire. They can do other things such as pipe fitting, welding," Chevron employee Stephanie Barthes said explained.
This is the sixth year Chevron has hosted the career fair. However, it's the first year that middle schoolers have taken part in the event.