FREEPORT — When it comes to industry jobs, Brazoria County is rich with opportunities. But what surprised some Brazosport ISD counselors was the variety of jobs available at local petrochemical facilities.

A collaboration between the Brazoria County Petrochemical Council and BASF allowed 13 Brazosport ISD educators to attend an informational session at the chemical plant Friday morning.

The goal was to educate and discuss ways in which students can become career ready, said Cindy Suggs, manager for government and community affairs for BASF.

Engineers, maintenance technicians, human resources personnel, health professionals and accountants are some of the people who can find opportunities to work in a thriving field, Suggs said.

“We wanted to debunk some of the myths about working in industry,” Suggs said. “We have a full spectrum of jobs to support this industry. A lot of kids don’t know what’s out there or don’t know what they want to do.”

With an emphasis on finding the next talent pool of workers, Suggs said educators were invited to tour the plant and take part in several breakout sessions with employees from different departments.

“This has just given me a really clear picture on how to help advise students,” said Darla Fagan, dual-credit adviser and counselor for Brazosport College. “You know you don’t have to have a four-year degree to get a really good job out here as long as you’re a hard worker and get some experience.”

Wanting kids to be prepared for the workforce after high school is one of the biggest goals counselors have for students, said Cindy Kaale, a lead counselor for Brazosport High School.

“You can get a really good job here, and one of the things I’ve been asking is what makes an applicant stand out?” Kaale said. “What can we bring back to our kids to advise them on how to succeed here? So it’s just been a really good opportunity.”

Representatives from environmental health and safety, product maintenance, engineering and human resources guided informational discussions. They provided advice for the counselors along with answering any questions the educators had about the company Friday afternoon.

“I try to tell kids that they’re lucky to live in an area where you do not have to have a four-year degree to get an excellent job with benefits,” said Lowell Good, a career and technical education specialist for Brazoswood High School.

BASF also has invited about 40 Brazoswood teachers to come to the plant to explore the same opportunity and learn about the different ways students can flourish in industry, Suggs said.

“There’s a good amount of workers getting ready to retire, so sessions like these help not only to educate but also recruit,” Suggs said.

Courtney Blackann is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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