Chevron Richmond-sponsored career training program gets new digs

Chevron Richmond-sponsored career training program gets new digs
Jay Lloyd leads the Regional Occupational Program. (Photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

A free program that trains Contra Costa County residents for high-demand careers at Chevron Richmond and other industrial facilities recently moved into a new, renovated space that enhances its offerings to trainees.

For more than four decades, the Regional Occupational Program, or ROP, has launched hundreds of successful careers in the fuels and petrochemical industries, including at Chevron Richmond. The 18-week program is funded by Chevron Richmond and implemented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. There is no cost to participate in the program.

Recently, ROP underwent a few changes that will have a big impact, according to Jay Lloyd, the program’s relatively new and charismatic leader.

The biggest change is that ROP is now operating in a new, larger space on the Chevron Richmond campus. The space is newly painted and designed, creating an enhanced learning environment.

The program runs twice annually (starting each fall and spring), offering both day and night classes to 60 total students per cohort.

“ROP is for anyone in the community,” Lloyd said. “We want to make sure that the people here in Richmond and Contra Costa County have an opportunity to get these positions.”

Lloyd noted that living in Contra Costa County isn’t a requirement to join the class. Students must be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate to take part.

ROP offers Plant Process Operator courses in which students learn technical skills such as mechanics, mathematics and chemistry. They also learn communication and analytical skills, safety practices and how to work independently and as part of a team. 

“The big part is that we bring in an external career consultant, Jessica Williams to assist with resume and cover letter creation, interview skills training, as well as a LinkedIn tutorial,” Lloyd said. “Jessica spends a week with us preparing the class to apply for jobs.”

Lloyd, who has worked for Chevron since 2012 in a variety of roles, became an instructor in ROP during the COVID pandemic, when it was 100 percent virtual. Now, the program operates on a hybrid schedule, with in person, remote and day or night classes.

Lloyd’s training style goes beyond the books. Growing up in poverty, in Detroit, he takes great purpose in reaching people in the community who, like him, lacked opportunities.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said that it’s a cruel jest to ask a bootless man to pull himself up by his bootstraps,” he said. “And so for me, as a Chevron employee, I’d like to say that we’re giving boots out and helping people lace them up to prepare for whatever the future looks like for them.”

Lloyd says he knows the program works because he’s seen its successes firsthand. Since 2015, the program saw more than 115 ROP graduates hired at Chevron Richmond alone.

“And that’s the one thing that keeps driving me to continue to do bigger and better things for this program,” he said. “Because doing bigger and better things for the program means I’m doing bigger, better things for the community. That, to me, is an amazing feeling.”

Lloyd is hard at work spreading the word about ROP. You’ll see him at local career fairs encouraging men and women of all backgrounds to join the program. He takes it a step further, introducing his students to jobs at Chevron Richmond that may be outside the scope of the ROP program.

“One of the things that I’ve been really fortunate to do in this program is introduce students to other possibilities,” he said, such as career opportunities in warehousing and packaging.

For more information about the ROP, including how to sign up, visit the Contra Costa County Office of Education website here.