North Carolina A&T University (NCAT) is ranked as the No. 1 HBCU (historically black college/university) in the United States when it comes to disciplines such as engineering and IT. As the leading producer of African-American engineers in the country, it stands to reason that NCAT students are heavily sought after by numerous companies, including MPC.
“We started recruiting at NCAT about six or seven years ago,” explains Logistics & Storage Engineering (L&SE) Advanced Senior Engineer Henry Matthews, “and we currently have several NCAT graduates located in Findlay, Galveston Bay and Los Angeles. Donna James, a long-time MPC board member, is also an NCAT grad.”
So how does MPC work to get the company name in front of future NCAT graduates? The answer is: by creating a relationship with high performing students early in their education and reinforcing it as often as possible.
“MPC – primarily the IT and Engineering teams – is ramping up recruiting efforts at the school, “ explains Organizational Capability Director Jaime De La Cruz. “Instead of just donating checks, MPC is actively engaging with various student organizations, faculty and administration.”
In 2018, MPC made a three-year commitment to be a major sponsor of the five-week summer bridge program for incoming high school engineering and computer science students, called HOME (Helping Orient Minorities to Engineering). “We visit the campus on a regular basis to maintain a relationship with the program,” notes Matthews.
As a result, MPC will have eight students from NCAT in a class of interns and co-ops in the spring of 2020.
One such student is Markus Bryant, a sophomore studying civil engineering. “Although I was independent and not as apprehensive about being on a college campus, HOME really helped me hone in on social cues and encouraged me to better understand and engage any audience,” he says.
MPC is about to get a lot more visible around campus with the donation of two vehicles. “One is a small vehicle for research, likely an autonomous vehicle using an internal combustion engine rather than electrically driven,” explains Matthews. “The other is a pick-up truck to be used for transporting their BAJA racing vehicle, aerial drone and other projects to various competitions across the country.”
NCAT has singled out MPC as being its most active and engaging sponsor. The company was recently the main sponsor of the College of Engineering Dean’s Homecoming Cookout, where the MPC-logoed truck was presented.
MPLX Logistics & Storage Executive Vice President John Swearingen is the executive sponsor for all activities related to the school. “We meet with him regularly to make sure we are proactively engaging the students and providing support systems for NCAT co-ops, new hires and alums,” adds Matthews. “He and Jaime work very closely to empower the various teams in IT, engineering, talent acquisition and HR.”
“The debut of our new employee network groups is also a very timely recruiting tool,” adds De La Cruz.
“This is a relationship we want to continue to grow, and we continue to explore ways that we can enhance our presence on campus. From a diversity standpoint, this partnership is a good one, but it’s also about being competitive. We are not the only company on campus that would like to connect with these students.”