When the HR Team at MPC’s Galveston Bay refinery asked how they could further support Barber Middle School in nearby Dickinson, the response was unexpected – Come visit the students. The HR Team learned they were among a small number of groups that had visited the school with the sole purpose of engaging the students.
“We have long financially supported Barber through a partnership with Communities in Schools Bay Area (a dropout-prevention program serving 12 schools in the Clear Creek and Dickinson school districts), but we wanted to see if we could do more than write a check,” explains HR Consultant Asegai Daniel. “We want to foster personal relationships with the students, to have a more profound impact on their lives.”
The eight-member team arrived at Barber during lunch, spreading out to sit with fifth- and sixth-graders throughout the lunchroom. “Some played card and brain games with the kids, while others just chatted with them,” says Daniel. “We stayed for every lunch period, giving us a chance to talk with more than a hundred students.”
Over the course of the visit, the team members shared information about their jobs, covered career opportunities available at the plant, and discussed what it takes to prepare for those positions, stressing the importance of training and education.
They also learned more about the students. “Some come from households struggling to provide basic needs,” says Daniel. “High school will be the end of the line for many in terms of education. We wanted to present a different line of sight for them by providing information about opportunities after high school.”
MPC must continually plan for a well-trained workforce to ensure its continuing and future success, according to Daniel. “There are bright young minds at Barber. All they need is direction and to know others want them to succeed,” he says. “Before we were even ready to leave, the students were asking when we’d be back. They could see our interest was genuine.”
The HR Team plans to meet with the students on a regular basis and perhaps conduct some one-on-one lunch sessions. Daniel is grateful for the opportunity to do so. “Marathon Petroleum truly believes in giving back to its communities,” he notes. “That’s one reason why I chose to work for MPC.”