High schoolers get an inside glimpse of a bright future
Several juniors and seniors at Robinson High School in Crawford County, Ill., are getting the opportunity to find out firsthand if an engineering career is right for them.
“Two years ago, the [Marathon Petroleum Company LP’s refinery in Robinson, Ill.] established a program with the school, giving students interested in engineering careers an opportunity to shadow refinery employees and co-ops on the job,” explains HR Consultant Chase Keffer. “Two students are selected for the spring and fall semesters to get a firsthand look at what some of the refinery’s engineering-related careers involve.”
Before taking part in the program, the students first complete a questionnaire. “The purpose is to determine what engineering field interests them – chemical, electrical, mechanical, design or construction, for instance,” says Keffer. “We then pair them with new engineers and co-ops in our Tech Service, Maintenance Reliability and Engineering departments.”
Once paired, a schedule is set in which the students visit the refinery for about 1½ hours a week. They shadow a refinery employee or co-op by watching, listening and asking questions to learn what on-the-job tasks and responsibilities involve.
“The students are not allowed to go out into the plant, but in some other aspects, they’re treated like full-time employees,” notes Keffer. “They attend meetings with their mentors, and get opportunities to observe procedures a typical junior or senior high-school student would rarely see. The refinery’s job-shadowing program does a lot for the kids in terms of helping them prepare for college, careers and the real world. It’s rewarding to be a part of that.”