Jayden Moody, now in her senior year at Istrouma High School, considered becoming a nurse, but now she is leaning into engineering – audio or mechanical.
Moody, 18, is one of half a dozen students who have spent several weeks this summer behind the fence at ExxonMobil Baton Rouge for a new internship program.
âI like to be practical and build things,â Moody said. âEveryone wants to do nursing, but I’ve thought about it, and that’s not really what I want to do. My dream is to be in the music industry. I want to produce my own music. . ”
But in the meantime, Moody plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Baton Rouge Community College while working at ExxonMobil. Moody said she was drawn to Exxon’s offer to help with the tuition.
The program was established to build the pipeline of potential workers at the plant. The company plans to launch similar internship programs at other ExxonMobil factories along the Gulf Coast.
âWe have a lot of local talent here,â said Jeff Blohm, Baton Rouge mechanical director who ran the program.
Each intern was matched with an ExxonMobil employee as a mentor who offered insight into what various professional careers in the skilled trades do during the work day. Students spent time with millwrights, electricians, pipe fitters, welders and process technicians to learn more about these careers.
Kaylie Smith, 18, a final year student at Glen Oaks High School, was the only woman in her class at BRCC to learn about electrical work. Her dream is to design cars for a manufacturer, but she also turns to mechanical engineering.
Smith said having a mentor was “very important,” especially to answer all of his questions about the field.
Allen Stewart, 18, recently graduated from Episcopal High School and is heading to Tulane University this fall where he plans to earn a law degree.
âAll my life I have wanted to be a lawyer,â said Stewart. “It gave me the opportunity to see what’s in the oil and gas industry. I love the business side of it. I thought it was all about engineers and of people with a job, but it’s so much more. ”
As part of the internship program, the company uses a training laboratory, which has clean machines, connected to electricity but not to petrochemicals. Specialist David Staid followed the process of starting the electrical system, which supplies the control room. This allows operators to oversee the various units that refine crude oil.
âThis is important equipment for operations here, ensuring the reliability of the units,â Staid said. âWe can plug it in, operate it, and troubleshoot it for training purposes. “
During an average day, which typically runs from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Staid supervises nine electricians in the Baton Rouge complex.
Staid is the third generation of his family to have worked for ExxonMobil. He started working at the refinery complex as an entrepreneur at 19 and worked his way up to a supervisor over the years.
âI don’t think any of my daughters would come here, but I would definitely recommend it; it’s a great opportunity and career. The products we make here are used in all aspects of your daily life,â said he declared. .