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Interns gear up for their summer at Phillips 66

College students are facing a radically different reality this year, but Phillips 66 is trying to maintain one rite of passage — the summer internship — for those who'll be joining the company starting June 1.

The internship program has been a critical talent pipeline for Phillips 66. Since 2012, the company has hosted 1,470 interns — including 611 engineers — and nearly 85% of those were converted to full-time employees during that time. So while a number of companies opted to reduce or eliminate their internship programs, Phillips 66 kept one eye on the future and adapted its program to the current environment.

“We made the strategic decision to honor our commitment to all our summer interns because it’s important to the continuity of our talent pipeline,” said Phillips 66 Manager of Talent Acquisition Leigh Harris. “As we do every summer, we will provide them with an exceptional experience that will serve them — and us — now and in the future.”

The 184 interns, all outstanding students from the company’s 23 recruiting schools, will start their internships as early as June 1. For those based at the corporate offices in Houston and Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the first eight weeks of the program will be held virtually, with the possibility of being brought on-site for the final two weeks.

For field internships, each site has been given the flexibility to create an intern program that suits their specific needs and also their specific COVID-19 response guidelines. Most sites are still planning to host interns on-site; a few will start the interns virtually then migrate on-site.

Since this year’s internship program looks different from location to location, the planning took a lot of creativity and flexibility.

“The cool part of this is what the team has pulled off to revamp their intern training and onboarding program to allow for remote engagement,” said Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery General Manager Tim Seidel. “I firmly believe elements of what they did will stay with us as improvements and efficiencies to our program, long after this pandemic is gone.”

Teams across Phillips 66 worked meticulously to adapt and modify the program to current conditions — including finding creative ways to preserve the peer-to-peer interface, a critical element of the program. Employee Resource Groups and intern coordinators across the company created virtual networking events such as game nights for the interns.

Seidel said he’s confident the extra effort is worth it. “Honoring our commitment to these interns, even in a time of company economic strain, confirms that we are highly committed to growing our talent pipeline,” he said.


Pictured at top: University of Tulsa student Chay Schmidt, who will be a design intern with Phillips 66 Corporate Communications this summer, is set up to work from home.