May 3, 2006 – Students entering ninth grade in the new school year can choose to participate in a program that would guarantee them employment at Hovensa after graduation. Thanks to a $500,000 commitment from the oil refinery, the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center (CETC) will begin the CTEC Craft Training Academy to prepare students for a career in their choice of an electrical, instrumentation or millwright craft. Classes will be open to all new ninth-grade students in private, public and parochial schools.
Alexander A. Moorhead, Hovensa's vice president for governmental affairs, announced the new school curriculum was being instituted to fill positions of refinery employees who plan to retire in the near future.
He said the company submitted a plan to the St. Croix Vocational Education Board so local students could be educated in areas where the refinery has the greatest need. Moorhead said the program would begin with ninth-grade students and add the next higher grade each successive year.
The first graduation of the program will be in 2010. Moorhead said 20 graduates would be guaranteed positions at the refinery at a starting annual salary of more than $31,000 plus fringe benefits.
Pinnacle Services will administer the program, which is certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research.
The Hovensa donation would cover all books, equipment, teachers and administrative personnel. "Everything that is needed down to copying and paper," Moorhead said. Graduates of the program would receive a nationally recognized certificate in their field.
Hovensa is asking parents of students who excel in math, science and English and who enjoy working with their hands to encourage them to apply for placement in the CETC Academy. Hovensa is launching an advertising campaign to promote the program. Students applying for placement will be tested on general science and math concepts, which should have been mastered upon completion of eighth grade.
Other requirements for enrollment include completing an application form, submitting three recommendations – one each from the student's math, science and English teachers – and writing a 250-word essay describing how the academy would fit into the student's career goal. The deadline for submitting the application package is May 12 at noon.
Application packages are available from school counselors who have been briefed on the program and its requirements by Hovensa officials.
"It's going to be an exciting year," said CETC Principal Daphne F. Wilson-Williams, who was present at the news conference. Also attending were Cecelia Knowles, insular superintendent of schools for the St. Croix District; Dr. Lauren Larsen, deputy commissioner for curriculum and instruction; and Vocational Education Board President Lena Schulterbrandt.
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