As the world honors and reflects on the accomplishments and progress of women for National Women’s History Month, there is pride in knowing our company is focused on being part of the forward movement. LyondellBasell supports initiatives that advance education and careers for women in areas where they are often underrepresented - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Through its global corporate citizenship program, Advancing Good, LyondellBasell sponsors job training facilities, provides scholarships and helps create job opportunities for women, as well as other minorities. Some of the programs LyondellBasell supports include the Women in Process Technology Scholarship with Wharton County Junior College in Texas, LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology (CPET) at San Jacinto College in Houston, the Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) Program with the University of Texas at Austin (UT), and more.
For many women, the LyondellBasell-supported programs provide funds and opportunities they otherwise would not have. Ana Martinez, who attends Wharton Junior College, is one of the Women in Process Technology Scholarship winners. Martinez found herself working 12-hour shifts to finance her degree. The LyondellBasell-sponsored scholarship provided Martinez with much needed relief. Five applicants, including Martinez, were awarded either $1,000 or $2,000 toward their educational costs in the spring and fall semesters of 2020.
“This scholarship helped me get through a rough time,” said Martinez. “Process Technology is something I am putting my all into. I’m obtaining the knowledge needed and putting in the hard work to achieve my goal.”
Another Women in Process Technology Scholarship recipient, Bobbie Jo Brown, said the scholarship will help her achieve career aspirations as a process operator and enable her to spend more time with her sons and on school assignments. A single mom with two sons, Brown has had to work seven days a week, and 10 or more hours a day, to take care of her family and pay for school.
“With help paying for school, I will be able to study more,” said Brown. “I will be able to see my sons more, as I won’t have to work so much overtime to secure our futures.”
LyondellBasell is also paving the way for many other minority students through support of CPET programs at San Jacinto College. The majority of the students at San Jacinto College are Hispanic. Although enrollment varies per semester, women can make up anywhere from 15 – to 20 percent of the student population. Jeff Pearce, San Jacinto College coordinator for Education and Workforce at CPET, said every day he witnesses the drive his female students have for STEM - they are not only passionate about participating, but lean into the leadership roles actively. Pearce said his students will be an asset to any workforce.
“The pipeline from training to a high-paying career for students, coupled with the industry demand for a more diverse workplace, puts CPET in an ideal place for companies to find its future workforce,” said Pearce.
At UT, the EOE program was established to provide equal and equitable opportunities for recruitment, academic, research, and leadership and professional development. In the last year, LyondellBasell sponsored the program’s kick-off events and five $1,000 scholarships. Currently, 20 percent of the engineering initiatives budget is allocated for women-specific initiatives and around 23 percent is used for other minorities.
An EOE scholarship winner and an aerospace engineering student, Emil, said the award was especially beneficial to his financial situation given the unexpected impact of COVID-19.
"LyondellBasell supported my post-undergraduate journey as I begin to navigate the real world,” said Emil. “I can confidently say that I have grown as a leader, a public speaker, and lastly, as a voice for those who are not being heard.”
In Europe, LyondellBasell has been selected as one of the industrial partners of the PARACAT (Paramagnetic Species in Catalysis Research) Program, a European program funded by the European Commission to train talented students and researchers in the field of catalysts. In February 2021, LyondellBasell’s Ferrara and Frankfurt sites trained approximately 50 young researchers. They come from top research institutes across Europe.
Leonora Podvorica, a young female researcher who participated in the PARACAT program stated, “as one of the PARACAT project participants, I got the amazing opportunity to become part of a knowledge chain that links fundamental research of academic laboratories with highly innovation-oriented applied research in the industrial sector. “From my experience, I can say that the biggest impact of the courses and the training offered by LyondellBasell resides in bridging the transformation gap from student to employee. Thanks to the courses that I followed and the training I received from the LyondellBasell facilities, I am now prepared in a more complete way for the applied scientific world. And the best part is that at LyondellBasell you get trained by world’s top experts in the field of chemicals and production technologies, giving you a chance to become ONE OF THEM.”
It’s a goal at LyondellBasell to help create a more inclusive world. Supporting women, and essentially diversity in the workplace, is one way to achieve that goal.
Some of the active women at the LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology at San Jacinto College, exploring the 30+ custom labs the facility has to offer its students.
LyondellBasell sponsored females students to attend the WE19 Conference, one of the world’s largest conferences and career fairs for women in engineering and technology (photo taken prior to COVID-19).