ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the unemployment rate in Odessa is 11.4%, the second-highest in the state.
“You know there’s just a lot of jobs that were here a year ago that just aren’t coming back. So you need to take a realistic assessment of where you are in the job cycle.”
Mickey Cargile, a local financial expert, says mergers and the oil crash are to blame for these jobs not coming back. However, there are alternatives.
“Utilize the local colleges that we have. They have wonderful trade programs. Find something that interests you and get retrained during this period of unemployment.” Cargile says.
Local colleges and universities offer programs for oil and gas education. These programs, continue the education of everyone in the industry.
Erin Van Evera-Welch with the Petroleum Professional Development Center at Midland College says, “if you work in pipeline inspection if you’re a pumper, all the way to being in the office, administrative staff all the way up to the CEO, we offer continuing education classes for anybody involved in the industry.”
More than just an opportunity to learn, these classes are taught by industry leaders and offer networking opportunities “not just with each other as professionals in the industry but also with the instructors. I mean that’s a great networking opportunity, potential job opportunity.”
While money is tight for many unemployed oil workers, Van Evera-Welch says that they offer scholarships and financial aid. Some events they hold are free, and she says taking advantage of one of those events, could lead to a job.
Cargile offers yet another solution: entrepreneurship.
“You need to find something that you can do better than someone else can do,” he says. “Or maybe you can do it cheaper than someone else. Maybe you can take your job skill and market it as a contractor to other people.”
He said especially in the oil field that this could be a very lucrative business model.
While that’s an option, Cargile says that you should self-evaluate and see if you have the right personality for entrepreneurship. His first option would be to attend a local college and retrain, saying that you should “always make sure you have a Plan-B”.