More than 600 women are expected to fill the conference room of Galveston’s Moody Gardens Hotel on Feb. 22 to learn about expanding opportunities for women in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries.

This marks the conference’s third year, hosted by the Community College Petrochemical Initiative, a consortium of nine area community colleges that include Alvin Community College, Brazosport College, College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College and Wharton County Junior College.

The one-day event is designed to introduce women to the careers and opportunities available in the petrochemical and industrial skills industries, career fields long dominated by males but now open to women.

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 6.3 percent of women work in these male-dominated fields,” said Vera Lewis-Jasper, Galveston College dean of Technical and Professional Education. “Today’s well-trained woman has the opportunity to enter these fields, which typically have a lower wage gap and offer much-needed stability and growth.”

Last year’s conference drew more than 350 interested women.

“The conference is geared for all women — the unemployed or underemployed, high school or college students, veterans — who desire a stable, well-paying career,” said Dr. Sarah Janes, who helps plan the conference.

“Because of an aging workforce, plant expansions and new construction starts in a growing economy, there are plenty of challenging, well-paying career positions available in the Gulf Coast region — and refineries and contractors are looking for trained women to hire,” Dr. Janes said.

Last year’s attendees included women who were already working in the field and were looking to advance in their career paths.

Participants will hear from other women who work in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries, and will have the opportunity to talk with college representatives about enrollment, financial aid and other training-related issues. Several major employers are also expected to be present.

To learn more about attending the Women in Industry conference, or to become a corporate sponsor, contact Kelly Dando, CCPI grant coordinator, 281-425-6221 or kdando@lee.edu. Visit the CCPI website at EnergizeHouston.org to register.

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