Evonik Goldschmidt Sponsors Teacher “Job Shadowing” Program

HOPEWELL, Va., March 7, 2013

Evonik Goldschmidt Corporation has implemented an innovative “job shadowing” program to educate teachers and students about good, high-paying jobs offered by industries in the area that don’t require a college degree.

Dr. Reinhold Brand, President of Evonik Goldschmidt, said he is certain the program will provide teachers in the Hopewell Public School system with insight on how to better prepare students for quality employment after graduation.

“College is not for everyone,” said Dr. Brand, who is a strong supporter of vocational training as a second option. “We have some excellent jobs here in Hopewell that pay well and are intellectually challenging but do not require a college degree. We want to let our young people know about these local opportunities.”

Evonik’s Hopewell facility is one of the area’s largest employers and produces specialty chemicals for use in hair and skin care products, fabric softeners, surfactants to create the properties of polyurethane foams for specific applications and a plethora of other high-tech chemical products.

Under the job shadowing program created by Philip Munson, Site Manager at the Hopewell plant, Maurice Brown -- a math teacher at Carter G. Woodson Middle School --worked closely with Evonik to develop a better understanding of employment opportunities at Evonik and in the Hopewell area.

“We need to forge closer ties between our industry and our schools through programs introducing young people to trades like high-skilled manufacturing,” said Munson. “We must alert today’s young people to jobs not requiring a college degree.”

Dr. Tina Barringer, Supervisor of Math, Science, and Instructional Technology at the Hopewell City Public Schools system, said Evonik provided an incredible opportunity for Hopewell students by implementing the job shadowing program – a chance to learn about jobs in the ‘real world.’

“Evonik enabled Mr. Brown, the math teacher, to learn what students need to know in order to prepare for jobs if they choose not to go to college,” she said. “The company provided Mr. Brown with a perspective he couldn’t get by reading a textbook. Evonik is leading the charge with its job shadowing initiative. It would be wonderful if other companies followed Evonik’s lead.”

School systems usually concentrate on preparing students for higher education, she adds, but not every student attends college. “We are trying to prepare our students for all options,” she said.

During more than 60 hours of "job shadowing” at Evonik’s plant at 914 East Randolph Road,” Brown learned about products made at the site including ingredients for Pampers®. Brown also plans to bring his students to Evonik’s facility for educational tours.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” said Brown. “Evonik produces a lot of products we use every day. I also was impressed by the emphasis on safety and what it takes to operate a plant. It’s more than pushing a button. You have to follow procedures and keep your eye on things. I was also impressed that there are meaningful, rewarding jobs here in the community. If a college education isn’t something a student wants to pursue, they can find a well paying job at Evonik or other firms in Hopewell.”

Students are also scheduled to visit the Evonik site soon. “They want to see with their own eyes actual operations rather than just have me or another teacher tell them about it,” said Brown. “Students are always interested in learning something new. They were fascinated about Evonik’s technology.”

Munson said the idea for the job shadowing program began at a Hopewell Manufacturer’s Association dinner. “We were trying to promote local industry to the school system and attract young people to join our workforce,” he recalled. “The idea was to have a teacher spend time at a plant and then go back to explain everything to the students in an exciting way. Our message, which Mr. Brown took back to the schools, is that you can have a good, productive career here without going to college or leaving Hopewell.”

For additional information about Evonik in North America, please visit our website: www.evonik.com/north-america. Please visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvonikNorthAmerica. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EvonikN_America.

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  • About Evonik

    Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

    Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2011 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around €14.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €2.8 billion.

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    In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.