Ben Schrader wants to be a high school science teacher in Houston. The 55-year-old chemical engineer plans to reach his goal with the help of a new cooperative program, between the Chevron Corporation and three universities, that addresses both the problem of unemployment in the oil industry and the growing shortage of science teachers throughout the nation's secondary schools.

Getting a good education has always been important to Schrader, who expects his youngest child, a high school senior, to follow his five older siblings in obtaining an undergraduate degree. But it wasn't until last fall that Schrader decided to retire early from his position at Chevron as manager of marketing operations for a five-state region in the Southwest and take the plunge into the classroom.

Schrader, who joined Gulf Corp. in 1953 after having graduated from Texas A&M University, is one of 5,000 employees who has left the company since...

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