For most high schoolers working in the oil industry isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as a career choice.

“I want to go to criminal justice to become a police officer and step up to state,” says Brenden Hightshoe, a senior at Carmi County High School.

“Train business or coal loading train operating just like my stepfather.” included Rhider Melvin, also a student at Carmi County High.

Which is why Illinois Petroleum Resources Board executive director Seth Whitehead joined the high school’s teen conference.

According to Whitehead, the oil production industry has long been white county’s leading employer representing seven percent of overall employment.

“I think most folks are aware that the united states is experiencing record-breaking oil production at the moment. this has created a need in the nation for more oil and gas related positions and really the demand is high and also these are good paying jobs as well,” says Whitehead.

However, oil leaders say misconceptions of the industry lead to low interest in the career field.

“I’m sure a lot of folks think that roughnecking or rest about jobs are the only jobs available in the gas and oil industry but there are literally dozens of jobs expanding various skill sets and education levels.”

Although students say they already have a career choice in mind, a future in the oil industry could be an option.

“I got a lot of knowledge on like how they get paid and how the industry is going to jump ad how good the industry is going to sparked some interest in the oil industry. I didn’t know much about it until the presentation,” says Hightshoe.

Oil and natural gas industry employment grew faster than any other sector in 2018 and is projected to do so again this year.

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(This story was originally published on mmmmm dd, 2017)