APT graduate finds career in high-wage industry | ACTC

APT graduate finds career in high-wage industry

February 8, 2022

ASHLAND, Ky. – Kayla Franklin never imagined she would work in an industrial field.

A 2013 graduate of Boyd County High School, Franklin chose to go to a four-year university and complete a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts. 

She graduated from college in 2017, and began working at her local public library. 

Within a year of graduating, she knew she wanted to return to college and do something different. A family member who worked at Marathon Petroleum Corporation encouraged her to consider the Applied Process Technologies (APT) program at Ashland Community and Technical College so she could begin working in a higher wage field. 

“It took a lot of talking me into it, because I was always taught that women didn’t belong in certain fields. I had to realize for myself that it wasn’t true,” Franklin said. 

John Willis, APT program coordinator says while historically, the oil and chemical industry were male dominated careers, that isn’t necessarily the case today. 

“Today we are seeing more companies looking for females, and other minorities, to fill operations positions. Many companies have scholarship programs targeting underrepresented groups to attract candidates to industry to ‘even the playing field,’” he said. 

Franklin began the APT program in 2018 and knew that she had found the right fit. She says choosing this degree was the beginning of her path to a better life. 

“I have never been as financially secure as I am right now,” Franklin says.

Franklin currently serves as Waste Tracking Coordinator at Veolia, a role she moved to in December. 

According to their website, Veolia's mission is to resource the world, helping their customers address their environmental and sustainability challenges in energy, water and waste. This means improving their clients' energy efficiency, better managing their water and wastewater and recovering resources from their wastes.

Franklin says her primary responsibility is to track all the materials that comes in to the facility and follow them until they reach their final destination. 

“I got my foot in the door with this company because of the training I received in the APT program,” she says.

The APT Associate in Applied Science Degree program combines general education courses, technical courses in process technologies and courses specific to prepare students for entry-level positions in chemical/refinery operations, general industry and the power industry.

"It is exciting to see our students taking the knowledge they are learning in the APT program and the experience they are gaining through the internships into the field as successful process operators in the industry,” says Willis. 

For more information about the APT program at ACTC, visit https://ashland.kctcs.edu/education-training/program-finder/applied-process-technologies.aspx