PHOTOS — Nederland students earn jobs at Bechtel before graduation

Published 1:47 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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NEDERLAND — Nestor Resendiz is set to graduate Nederland High School at the end of the month and already has a boot in the door toward a career as a pipefitter with Bechtel at Port Arthur LNG.

It’s a career opportunity given to him and seven other soon-to-be graduates and is something they are thankful for.

“First I got to thank God, he gave us this opportunity,” Resendiz said. “I really appreciate it. We all appreciate it, especially since we’re coming out of high school. It gives us jobs.”

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Resendiz is a student in the pipefitting program, a course he feels helps him strengthen his math skills and a career he finds more interesting than welding, he said.

Bryan Spell, Career and Technology Education director at the high school, said educators already had a strong welding program that continues to grow stronger. The pipefitting program started last year, and it too is successful.

“We’re really excited about it and I think, not in my wildest dreams, that we’d be right here with eight students having an opportunity to go to work right after high school with a company the caliber of Bechtel,” Spell said. “So on behalf of Nederland ISD and Ms. Natalie Gomez and our superintendent, we want to extend our sincere appreciation for what has been a brief partnership but we’re looking at what we can grow this thing into.”

Jesse Kyle with Bechtel recalled how they met with teachers earlier in the school year and donated pipefitter tools, then later donated virtual reality welding equipment.

“With the kids’ hard work, they actually completed the course; we’re going to offer the eight here a job as a pipefitter apprentice and a couple of them a welder apprentice,” Kyle said.

Gomez, school principal, recalled the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child.

“And this a mighty village and we are blessed to have a partnership with Bechtel and Boot Barn,” Gomez said. “You know, our job is to prepare our students for life after high school, and it looks different for all of them. And you guys have learned practical skills that you are now walking out the door and putting them to play immediately.”

Without the partnership, this wouldn’t be possible, she said.

Bechtel representatives presented the students with job site coolers, while Boot Barn Store Manager Donald Jerome and assistant store manager Leslee Hood presented the newly hired individuals with safety boots.

Kane McIntosh, Bechtel’s project manager for Port Arthur LNG, said they are excited to offer jobs to the next generation of students who gained the craft skills needed to complete their curriculum and start their path on becoming skilled craft professionals.

READ MORE — Memorial students ready for career, work following Port Arthur CTE program