YDP student participating in a mock interview with a Torrance refinery employee volunteer

For many students in the Torrance Unified School District (TUSD) summer vacation is a time to go to the beach, hang out with friends, and get away from the daily routine of classes. But for 30 local students selected to participate in the Torrance Refining Company LLC’s (TORC) “Youth Development Program” (YDP), summer meant getting a job!

Click here to watch coverage of YDP on Torrance CitiCABLE 

For the 28th year, the Torrance Refinery hosted a summer employment program aimed at teaching Torrance youth the responsibilities associated with working, instilling the value of hard work, and providing opportunities for local youth to earn a paycheck while obtaining school credits. In a unique partnership with the City of Torrance and TUSD, TORC funded the salaries for students who were hired by either the City or the school district for summer internships. For most of the students in the program, this was their first experience working.

Prior to starting their jobs, the students went through one week of skills training to learn workplace behaviors and career development techniques such as resume writing, interpersonal skills, and more. In addition, the students enhanced their “soft skills” by attending a weekly class tailored towards practical application of what they were learning.

YDP students with Torrance Refinery Manager Steve Steach during Career Pathways Day

As part of this training, TORC hosted the students for a career pathways day during which TORC volunteers explained how their careers developed, providing guidance and advice to the students to help them identify career choices and development. In addition, refinery employees conducted mock interviews to build students’ confidence and enhance their self-awareness to prepare them for the future.

The program culminated in a community event during which students presented five-year plans outlining how they plan to achieve their post-high school graduation goals. The students gave their presentations to community leaders and their supervisors. Torrance Mayor Patrick J. Furey, TUSD Superintendent Dr. George Mannon, and Torrance Refinery Manager Steve Steach provided welcoming remarks and congratulated the students for successfully completing the program.

Since inception, the Torrance Refinery has donated more than $2 million to fund this program, and employed over 1,000 students, along with numerous teachers who have been hired to facilitate the “Youth Development Program.”

YDP closing ceremony. From left to right: Chris Sheck, North High Principal; George Chen, Torrance Councilman; Katie Doupe, North High; Dr. Tim Stowe, TUSD Deputy Superintendent; Barbara Graham, Torrance Refinery; Steve Steach, Torrance Refinery Manager; Mayor Patrick Furey, City of Torrance; Michael Wermers, TUSD Board of Education President; Dr. George Mannon, TUSD Superintendent; Gil Mara, TUSD; Gil Mara, TUSD Chief Education Tech and Information Services Officer; and Dr. Nisha Dugal, TUSD Sr. Director of Secondary Schools.