St. Croix, U.S. Virgin islands is home to one of the largest oil refineries in the world. The HOVENSA refinery has a crude oil refining capacity of about 500,000 barrels per day. This company along with other oil refineries, petro-chemical companies, power generation, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical and others employ large numbers of skilled people called process technicians to run these industrial facilities. These employees perform critical tasks including operating and monitoring equipment, troubleshooting and control to produce quality products while promoting safety and environmental awareness.
A high number of “baby-boomers” are projected to retire over the next 5 to 15 years. This is expected to create a significant shortage of process technicians in the United States. In response to this anticipated need, the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), in collaboration with HOVENSA, began offering a two-year, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Process Technology on the St. Croix campus in the Fall Semester of 2002. This program represents a tremendous opportunity for young people throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean region to pursue an exciting and financially-rewarding career in the field of process technology.
Twenty-one (21) Process Technology students successfully completed a six-week summer employment/internship program at the HOVENSA Refinery from June 29th to August 7th, 2009. Sponsorship of these students came from a number of different sources. Six of the students were interns and they were sponsored by HOVENSA LLC. These interns are expected to graduate at the end of the Fall Semester 2009. The other fifteen (15) students were employed as summer students. Twelve (12) of these summer students were sponsored by the Virgin Islands Department of Labor (VIDOL) and three (3) of them were sponsored by the Office of the Senate President, Louis Patrick Hill. Funding for this program was obtained through the solicitation efforts of the Program Director.