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Hess Corp Fills the Employee Pipeline

Published: Jun 27 2017
Hess Corp Fills the Employee Pipeline - Photo
HESS_X_Rig__0663.jpgHess Corporation has been a major player in the oil industry in North Dakota since the 1950s. The oil boom of recent years had the company racing to keep up with demand, jobs and production. As drilling has slowed down, training supervisor, Julie Vetter says the company is focused on building their bench strength in I&E, Reliability Operations, and Mechanical Maintenance.

"When I started, we had 135 employees in North Dakota. Over the course of 3.5 years we grew to over 500 which included both employees and embedded contractors. For us, this is an opportunity to sit back and look at what level of experience is missing. We have time to slow down and think about a long-term strategy for developing talent."

One of Vetter's first thoughts was how to deepen their ties to Bismarck State College in order to build the company's talent pool.

Jeff_Archer_Project__0622.jpgOver the years, BSC students have interned and job shadowed with Hess. The company has donated more than $250,000 in equipment and money to support BSC's energy programs. BSC has provided training to Hess's current workforce, many of whom are BSC graduates.

"This is our fourth year working with BSC. On the journey we've figured out how to be creative in partnering with BSC's offerings to achieve what we need," Vetter says.

The latest result of that creativity is a pilot program launched this spring: Job Experience Training (JET).

"JET is an internship on steroids," Vetter says. "We'll be the learning lab for [BSC] students. We'll give them the hands-on experience needed to be successful and then, if it's the right fit, keep them on. They'll have a career with a world class organization." Stacie Nachbaur, Operations Manager for Hess South of the River compares JET to the cooperative program she cut her teeth on as a student in Canada. "If you do it, it should result in a job at the end of the day. It did two things for me - provided income as a student and I came out with a job offer."

Students are eligible to apply once they complete a semester in a process plant, power plant or petroleum production at BSC. Those selected maintain their full-time student status, and spend one year on location at Hess. During this time they will engage in ongoing training and potentially will be hired as openings arise.

Michelle Slominski of Dickinson is one of the four students hired through JET this spring. She was a truck driver in the Bakken for several years before enrolling online at BSC to earn a degree in petroleum production technology. Her experience gives her a good sense of what's needed in the industry.

Riersgard_Pad__0224.jpg"Employers out here want the best people who know what they're doing," Slominski says.

That's BSC's goal for students, too, according to BSC National Energy Center of Excellence department chair Alicia Uhde. "We want our students to be job ready out of the gate. Working with Hess does that and more."

Vetter says that Hess is in North Dakota for the long term. "We want to help support North Dakota, and we want to grow programs by embedding in the infrastructure of state. The oil is here and we have the technology to retrieve it. When we begin to ramp up again, we want qualified individuals working for Hess."