The Dominion Cove Point LNG Terminal in Lusby is looking to hire employees, and College of Southern Maryland students are interested.
Mike Monfalcone, senior human resources business partner with Dominion Energy, looked out at the classroom full of CSM students in Leonardtown the evening of Feb. 16. He walked over to one of them sitting near the front, “Why are you going to college?”
“To get an education,” the student said.
“Why do you want to get an education?” Monfalcone prodded.
“To get a job.”
Monfalcone looked up. “Who else wants a job in here?” Everyone raised their hand.
“We wanted to come here tonight and tell you about some opportunities,” Monfalcone said. He and a colleague, Tom Waybright, supervisor of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shift operations, spent close to an hour at the intern information session that was attended by CSM students from all three campuses.
Monfalcone and Waybright described Dominion Energy’s work at Cove Point LNG Terminal, going through graphics and photos of the operation — a plant that receives shipments of natural gas from overseas and then liquefies the gas for storage. Liquefied natural gas is natural gas that has been super-cooled to -260°F to turn it into a liquid. At that temperature, it occupies only 1/600th the volume of gaseous natural gas, so it’s much more efficient to store and transport. Work is in progress now to upgrade the plant to also start exporting domestic gas to customers in Japan and India.
Monfalcone and Waybright emphasized the opportunity Cove Point could represent to college students in Southern Maryland, especially those students studying nuclear engineering technology and computer science. It could mean jobs once students graduate from CSM with an associate degree. It could mean a student internship this summer. It could also mean participation in a new Cove Point LNG intern program that is expected to be initiated within the next couple of months that will create an opportunity for CSM students to work part time throughout the year, while attending school.
The Cove Point LNG facility is in the process of adding to its facility and doubling its work force at the site to support the plant’s future export capabilities. The business has chosen to foster its relationship with area educational institutions like CSM to create a stream of skilled workers. The company’s intern program is also designed to make that connection with the future area workers. Monfalcone described how Cove Point summer interns were from Texas and Pennsylvania last year.
“Obviously, I think there are a lot of great intern candidates here in the tri-county area,” he said. “We’re working hard to get the word out about these great opportunities.”
There are two intern positions currently available at the Cove Point facility — Intern Mechanical Technology and Intern Instrumentation and Controls Technology. In addition, CSM students who are getting ready to graduate this spring were encouraged to consider applying for a regular full-time position. Current CSM students who are expecting to graduate this spring can apply for posted associate operations or maintenance positions that require zero to two years of experience, according to Monfalcone. Starting salaries for these positions can be $50,000 or more. Student candidates will be considered in the same pool as other non-CSM applicants for these positions. A list of current job openings, some of which are these entry-level positions, at Cove Point was distributed to the information session attendees.
“We believe that the education students receive at CSM will provide a great foundation for the skills we need for future employees to meet our workforce planning needs to fill positions of retiring employees,” Monfalcone said.
Enzo Walker of Waldorf, one of the CSM students attending the information session, is studying computer science at the college. The presentation was convincing to him. “I think Cove Point has a lot of opportunities and openings for entry-level STEM majors, and I’m willing to apply for a position in the field of computer science,” he said.
Waybright noted that students shouldn’t feel reluctant to apply to positions at Cove Point because they considered themselves inexperienced. “If you’ve gone through this program,” he said, referring to a CSM associate degree in a technical field, “you’ve proven you can learn something that is complicated to learn.” He also added that the kinds of work available covered anything found on a large-scale industrial site; so, the opportunities will be varied.
Both Monfalcone and Waybright also touted the value of gaining experience in the energy field, especially dealing with natural gas. “We’re on the front edge of the new technology,” Monfalcone said.
For information about intern opportunities with Dominion Energy at Cove Point, visit www.dom.com/student or call Mike Monfalcone at 804-310-6557. For work opportunities, visit www.dom.com/careers. For information on CSM, visit www.csmd.edu. To view a gallery of photos from the event, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/dominfo/.
Dominion Cove Point will participate in CSM’s 2017 Tri-County Job and Career Fair on March 28 at the La Plata Campus. For more information on the fair, visit http://www.csmd.edu/student-services/advising/career-services/job-fair.