Skills for Business: Emmitt Franklin, LyondellBasell

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Skills for Business: Emmitt Franklin, LyondellBasell

Emmitt Franklin is an operator at LyondellBasell, a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Communities that Work Partnership initiative in greater Houston. Through this program, area employers, economic and workforce development organizations, community colleges and K-12 education leaders, and non-profits are partnering to develop a talent pipeline for local employers to fill job openings in key sectors. The Department of Commerce created the Communities that Work Partnership with the Aspen Institute to facilitate seven regional industry-led training partnerships that help workers like Emmitt acquire the skills they need for quality jobs. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s Skills for Business Agenda, please visit www.commerce.gov/skills-for-business
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My name is Emmitt Franklin. I'm what's known as an S3 Operator, which means I have three jobs. And I've been here long enough to have those qualifications here at LyondellBasell. I came in through the internship program in June of 2013, got hired in September 2013, and after that it's just been working here and loving what I do.

There are very few people who started out as operators. They usually came from some other walk of life. So that's what I'd say to anybody who thinks that it's not for them. There aren't very many people who were just born, and then they were operators. It didn't happen that way.

Galveston is pretty much where I grew up. I started working at a summer theater in Galveston and we're doing shows, doing shows; I kept meeting people and networking. I happened to meet a guy who wanted to take me to Oklahoma City and train me, and I was like, OK great! So I started travelling the country. I've been to 49 out of 50 states. And a few foreign countries, that was awesome. When I was at home, I would spend time with my (at the time) girlfriend, then fiancée, now wife, and she got pregnant with our third daughter. And she said, we're probably not having any more kids after this, so you kinda want to be here for this. I was like, "you know what, yes I do." That was very important to me.

So I came off the road and came home. I was looking at what I could do to supplement income, something I'd be interested in. I don't just want to work all the time and not like it. Her cousin was working for an inspection company and he recommended the process technology program at College of the Mainland. So I went there and they had an information night, they were talking about it, and I was like, "This is something I could get into. I think I could do that." I took the first semester at the College of the Mainland and all the rest was history from there. I loved it. Everything they were talking about, it was all stuff that I felt like I could do. Coming out of College of the Mainland, I graduated 4.0. I was like yeah, I'll be an operator!

I was part of the [LyondellBasell] internship program. Again, it's not what it is now. I'm so proud of what it's grown into, the program that we have here. It started out with 3 or 4 of us with Chuck, who's one of the instructors. We were sort of learning how to learn, if that makes sense. From there, he just ran with it. There're now 20-30 people in the class, and it's all great information they're getting. The tools that they have are much better then when I came in. It's a lot better, this whole training facility. I really am happy to have been a part of what it was in the beginning.

With my first job, it was from the day I started my internship until the day I did my chalk talk [showing complete mastery of the assigned process unit] was 8 months. I don't think it would have been as quickly as that, had it not been for the training department and the training program, and what we were able to accomplish and establish with the training program.

Why I love this job is that I do get to give back. I don't think that I could do the things that I've done, in the time that I've done them, anywhere else. Every day, I come to work with a smile on my face. I really love what I do and who I do it for. There were other jobs that I had that I enjoyed, but I really, really like what I do. Now that I do this, I couldn't see myself doing anything else. Does that make sense? I just feel like--I was like, why didn't I do this sooner? This is what I was meant to do.

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