On June 1, six recent college graduates out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, began as interns at Evergreen Natural Resources. The paid internship program will last 10 weeks and has given these graduates an opportunity to gain valuable work experience during a time in which many oil and gas companies are not hiring.
Due to the economic downturn of the oil and gas industry, many of the interns struggled to find a job or were laid off after just being hired. This was the case for new intern Andrea Soruco, who graduated from the University of Tulsa in December 2019 and began working in February 2020, only to be laid off as the COVID-19 crisis grew and the price of oil and gas fell.
“I think a lot of companies are waiting until the price of oil jumps back to the normal range. Until then, a lot of companies are on a freeze,” Soruco said.
According to Soruco, she and her colleagues would have, under normal circumstances, gotten an internship or externship in Tulsa―a program set up by the University of Tulsa for undergraduate and graduating seniors.
“But Evergreen had this wonderful opportunity for me to join, and I’ve been working and learning production. I’ve been in the field most days learning a lot of new things.” Soruco said.
According to Suruco, one of her former professors got in touch with Mackenzie Smith, operational engineer at Evergreen and University of Tulsa alumna, and set up the opportunity. Now, the six interns will spend the next two months learning and working at Evergreen.
“We have them working on multiple areas from gas measurement to fracking to working on rigs,” production foreman Ed Romero said. “We’re doing hands-on training with current workers to allow them to learn exactly what our employees do.”
Three high school interns and one intern from Colorado School of Mines will join the team this summer as well, according to operations superintendent Dave Baca.
For the high school students, Evergreen has sought out students who might not be planning to go to college. Their plan is to allow them the opportunity to learn the industry; if they enjoy it and prove good employees, they can go on to become full-time employees at Evergreen, according to Romero.
“Our plan is to learn the industry from the lowest job we have all the way to the most technical,” Baca said.
Along with Soruco, the other college interns are Nicolas Avila, Jackson Holtgraves, Jake Johnson, Cameron Lundberg and Rob Stafford. The students are being housed by Evergreen at two locations in the area for the remainder of their internship.
After their Evergreen internship is over in August, the interns hope the job prospects will be better and the price of oil and gas on the rise. At the moment, they are focusing on honing technical skills during their time in Trinidad.
“Eventually, I would like to work in the production area, and would love to find a full-time job coming out of this experience,” Soruco said.