CHICAGO –– The Sherwin-Williams Co. hosted a transformative career day for 59 Chicago State University (CSU) science students who came to learn about the requirements of R&D-based careers with the 144-year-old global paint and coatings company and its chemical suppliers. The gathering was co-sponsored by TH Hilson, Cabot Corp. and the CSU Department of Chemistry and Physics. The event’s purpose was to identify potential recruits for the coatings industry and support the next generation of scientists.

Several elected leaders came to praise Sherwin-Williams and to inspire the students, who have committed to an intense course of study offering a great potential to make positive contributions to society. Dignitaries included Alderman Anthony Beale (9th Ward, Chicago), Illinois State Senator James Meeks (15th District), Illinois State Representative Constance Howard (34th District) and Illinois State Representative Thaddeus Jones (29th District).

In addition to offering formal presentations and tours, a delegation of current employees interacted with the science majors regarding career requirements, responsibilities, and local and global opportunities.

Tiffany Garrett, a scientist with Sherwin-Williams for 14 years, expressed enthusiasm for her research and development work. “Each day brings new technical challenges to be met, allowing me to dig deeper into the chemistry of coating products. The process of innovation is exciting for me. I get a charge out of seeing formulas I've worked on enhance the consumer's overall experience and sense of quality.”

The students also met John Griffin, a Chicago State University graduate, who has been a Sherwin-Williams chemist for 32 years. Griffin majored in music with a minor in chemistry. "I've built a great career at Sherwin-Williams because the company invests in well-trained people and provides excellent resources for research and development. That combination makes for an extremely stimulating work environment." Griffin points out that Sherwin-Williams retains many of its employees for decades. The company has been recognized as one of the best employers in the nation.

The students were treated to a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the technical coatings lab and paint manufacturing plant located at Sherwin-Williams’ south Chicago facility. David Kanis, Department Chair of Chemistry and Physics at Chicago State University, said, “Sherwin-Williams provided an inspirational and energizing experience for our students. They were so impressed.”

In an innovative partnership, Sherwin-Williams and its suppliers are teaming with the university to develop a chemistry curriculum that will customize academic training for the next generation of professionals in the paint and coatings industry. In addition, students will be eligible for internships and full-time employment opportunities at the paint company and its suppliers.

“Sherwin-Williams thrives because of its commitment to people and research and development,” said Gale Murphy, Sherwin-Williams Vice President of Research & Development Global Finishes Group. “The innovations and continuing advancements of Sherwin-Williams products are rooted in the high caliber of our scientifically trained employees, their expertise and creativity. It is very rewarding to present the paint and coatings industry to these young science majors and watch their eyes light up as they discover the career opportunities that are within their reach.”