bakersfield

introduction

The following information is provided to help employees who are considering an assignment in Bakersfield, California, to see what it is like to live and work there.

Bakersfield is located in the Central Valley of California. The city is just a few hours drive from dozens of beaches, deserts, national parks, and famed tourist attractions, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Disneyland, and Las Vegas. Bakersfield is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. The Bakersfield metro area has a population of approximately 380,000 residents (as of 2017).
The average temperature in the summer is 90° F (32° C) Temperatures can get as high as 110 during these months, however, there is no humidity. The average temperature in the winter is between 45° and 50° F (7° and 10° C).

Bakersfield has its own airport, Meadows Field (BFL), which offers nonstop flights to a number of major western U.S. cities. 

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about two hours away, is the nearest international airport. If you do not wish to leave your personal car there while away, there is a bus service that travels from Bakersfield to LAX.

work environment

Chevron’s operating fields are spread over three counties that span the San Joaquin Valley. Round trip is over 300 miles.

This area encompasses two fields: Midway Sunset and McKittrick. TTA is located on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley business unit. The fields and offices are on the outer areas near Taft. Offices are close to towns and have on-site employee conveniences, such as a mailroom, cafeteria, and gym.

Employees reporting to these fields have an average commute time of 15 to 45 minutes, depending on where they live. Most TTA employees live near Bakersfield or Taft. Employees commuting from Bakersfield have access to a vanpool.

This area is the largest field and is home to many office buildings. The KR field lies on the outer edges of the Bakersfield city limits. KR has a state-of-the-art training center and is home to the Heavy Oil Center of Excellence.

Commuting to KR from Bakersfield takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

Within WCC, there are three main fields: Lost Hills, Coalinga/Kettleman and San Ardo. The Lost Hills location is nearest to the Bakersfield area at about 45 minutes away by car.

Employees based in Coalinga or San Ardo will live in towns closer to their reporting locations. Many employees take advantage of the vanpool to Lost Hills.

The Lost Hills location amenities include a gym, mail services, and a cafeteria.

The Energy Center, located in Bakersfield, is considered the headquarters office for the San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. Several departments are housed here in an open space environment; approximately 400 employees report here daily. These buildings are near shopping, restaurants, and housing. The headquarters office is well equipped with amenities. Employees can eat a balanced meal, buy stamps, mail packages, work out, store a bicycle, and tend to banking needs.

housing

Bakersfield offers a number of housing choices, including single family homes, condominiums, and apartments. The decision as to where to live is usually based on personal needs, lifestyle preferences, and proximity to work and area schools.

Bakersfield has available, both homes to buy and rent. The average-sized home is about 2,400 square feet, and more than half of the homes in Bakersfield have their own swimming pool. Many housing tracts are in gated communities that provide a clubhouse and community swimming pool for use by owners and renters.

Bakersfield has a number of apartment complexes, including several within a five-mile (8 km) driving distance to the Camino Media office. Renters can find studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Facilities typically include security, covered parking, health clubs, swimming pools, barbeques, spas and clubhouses. Some include Internet services and basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. Small pets are accepted at some facilities, but an extra security deposit may be required.

The rent price is dependent on the location and amenities.

With homes or apartments, employees can bring their own furniture or rent partially or fully furnished apartments. Rental agreements are normally on a one – two year lease basis. The first month’s rent and a security deposit are due upfront.

  • Power: All homes and apartments have electricity installed. Residents request that power be turned on with the local provider. Services are billed monthly.
    Electrical outlets are 110 volts with 220 volts for dryers and washing machines.
  • Telephone: All homes and apartments are equipped for phone service. Multiple phone lines (for example, phone lines for fax machines or teenage children) can also be installed. Cell phone service is also available. Residents sign up for service through the phone company and are billed on a monthly basis.
  • Gas: In most areas, one company provides gas and electric service. In certain areas of town, electricity and gas services are provided by separate companies. Some homes with acreage and on the outskirts of town may have propane tanks on the property. Propane tanks are filled at the resident’s expense, as needed. Residents should check with their landlord or realtor to find out what services are required for their home.
  • Water: All water flowing to homes and apartments has been filtered through city water systems. Water is safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing clothes.
  • Internet: In general, homes have Internet service capabilities. To reduce costs, most people bundle Internet, phone and cable services through one service provider. Some apartment complexes provide free wireless Internet to their residents. Coffee shops often provide a free wireless connection for their customers. Local libraries have computers with Internet access for public use. 

view slideshows about bakersfield so you can know what to expect in the following categories:

support services

Bakersfield has many medical facilities, treatment centers and hospitals. Health insurance for expatriates on assignment in the United States covers services at some of the best facilities in the area.

Nurses are available for consultations via the phone, and emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day. Medical facilities offer prescription filling, laboratory, X-ray and ultrasound services.

Expatriate health insurance also covers certain mental health and substance abuse treatments for employees and their covered family members. Confidential counseling with certified psychologists and counselors is available through Employee Assistance and WorkLife Services. This can be helpful for families trying to adjust to a new country and culture.

Dentists, including orthodontists and pediatric dentists, are located throughout the Bakersfield area. Dental services are covered under the expatriate health insurance plans.

Bakersfield employees are not provided a driver. Chevron will arrange for expatriates to have driving lessons and an allowance for a vehicle, if needed. Transportation services, including taxicabs, buses and area transits, are available for a fee.

Most households in the Bakersfield area operate without the assistance of outside help. Cleaning, baby-sitting and gardening services are available for hire. Most household-help providers come on a daily or scheduled basis and rarely live in the home.

It is very important to interview and check references. The phone book, neighbors and other employees are good references for these services.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available all over the city. Field offices generally have an ATM on‑site as well. Most merchants take debit cards, credit cards and cash for purchases. Very few accept checks.

The Chevron Federal Credit Union is located at the headquarters offices in the Energy Center and is available Monday through Friday.

The United States Postal Service has several locations around town where you can send letter mail and packages for a fee based on weight and destination. All field offices have mail services available during working hours to send interoffice mail and in some cases employees can ship personal letter or package mail for a fee.

The city of Bakersfield and its surrounding areas are considered safe communities. Expatriates interested in additional security may choose to live in gated communities or apartment complexes that offer security services. Homeowners can also install security alarm systems, which are monitored by security service companies for a fee.

shopping

There are a variety of food, clothing, furniture and household items available in Bakersfield. And just a few hours away are major cities (for example, Los Angeles and San Francisco) where a wider range of imported items can be found.

Grocery shoppers have a choice of seasonal farmers markets and supermarkets, including:

The Valley Plaza — the only indoor shopping mall in Bakersfield — includes department stores: JCPenney, Macy's and Sears.

These stores carry men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, electronics and household goods. The mall also has jewelry stores, a few high-end designer stores, several restaurants, and a movie theater with 14 screens.

Around town are several outdoor shopping centers, which include retailers: Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco.

High-end stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's, can be found in the Los Angeles area.

Local nurseries sell seeds, trees, bushes, flowers and pottery. Several businesses in town offer landscaping services, and stores such as Lowe's and The Home Depot sell materials for do-it-yourself projects.

Bakersfield furniture stores sell a variety of modern, traditional and made-to-order furniture. Furniture delivery is available to most all areas of town for a minimal fee — and sometimes for free.

More choices are available in the Los Angeles area. Check with retailers for delivery costs.

  • Ross and Kohl’s carry men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes and home goods.
  • Best Buy is a specialty retailer of consumer electronics such as televisions, DVD players, home audio, car audio, computers, cameras, music, movies, software and more.
  • PETCO and PetsMart offer pet supplies and services such as grooming and dog training.
  • Russo’s Books is a popular bookstore in Bakersfield. 

transportation

One of the benefits of a smaller town is no metropolitan traffic, although it can get heavy at certain times of the day. It is heaviest during the peak morning and evening commute times. Even so, most commutes take no more than 15 to 30 minutes across town.

Transportation services, including taxicabs, buses and area transits, are available for a fee.

audiocast

Listen to a few minutes of a conversation between expats about living in Bakersfield (intranet access).
  • Length: 14:32 minutes

recreational and entertainment

Bakersfield is a metropolis full of activities and entertainment.

For the sports-minded, Bakersfield offers a vast assortment of spectator and participant sports and activities. There are numerous gyms for exercise and sporting events, and many well-maintained golf courses. The city is also home to:

  • The Condors are now part of the American Hockey League (AHL), one step away from the National Hockey League (NHL). Owned by the Edmonton Oilers, the team is now the top development team of the Oilers.
  • The Bakersfield College Renegades American football team (junior college football).
  • The Bakersfield Train Robbers are a professional baseball club that is part of the Pecos League, an independent professional baseball league headquartered in Houston which operates in cities in desert mountain regions throughout California, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, Kansas and West Texas.

The Bakersfield Museum of Art provides a broad spectrum of visual art experiences. For younger children, the California Living Museum — the state’s premier native zoo and garden — displays many native California animals, plants, fossils and artifacts, and teaches respect for all living things through conservation, education and recreation.

The Bakersfield Parks and Recreation Department operates swimming pools and aquatic centers, recreation centers, fitness classes and 47 parks that feature:

  • Bike paths
  • Playgrounds
  • Tennis courts
  • Racquetball courts
  • Basketball courts
  • Softball diamonds and batting cages
  • Water sports include 60 miles (96.5 km) of whitewater rafting along the Kern River in the Sequoia National Forest. There are also swimming, boating, fishing and camping opportunities at the Kern County Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area.

Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley offices also have fitness centers available for use by all employees. The Kern River office and Energy Center have on‑site personal trainers. Assistance with fitness center equipment is available at no cost; however, there is a fee for one-on-one personal training.

There are numerous movie theaters in Bakersfield and some may offer discount tickets for movies that have been out in theaters for a while.

California State University, Bakersfield offers a variety of entertainment and events from its music, drama and athletic departments, including operas, plays and sporting events.

Nightclubs are all across Bakersfield — everything from DJs, live bands, bars, wine bars, dancing and karaoke.

There are several clubs around the San Joaquin Valley: hunting and fishing clubs, petroleum clubs, sports clubs and many others. Most are open to the public; some require monthly fees.

The San Joaquin Valley has many hotels. From finer hotels to extended-stay hotels to motels, there’s something to fit a variety of personal preferences and financial needs.

For pre-assignment trips, Homewood Suites is just minutes from the Energy Center office in Bakersfield. They offer free dinner and an extended-stay atmosphere.

Bakersfield is home to a wide variety of fast-food chains and sit-down restaurants. Diners have plenty of American and foreign cuisines to choose from. Popular restaurant chains include:

There are also a number of ethnic restaurants around town that serve Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Indian cuisine. And after dinner, Bakersfield’s own Dewar’s Ice Cream & Candy Shop is not to be missed.

Bakersfield has a number of day spas that offer services which include facials, massages and chemical peels. Full-service overnight and weekend spas can be found within a two-hour drive from Bakersfield.

Chevron partners with many organizations to engage our employees in activities that give back to the communities in which the company operates. Private service clubs that provide support to local communities, as well as throughout the world, include the Petroleum Club, the Lions Club and the Kiwanis Club. All of these meet monthly for lunch and have member dues. Other clubs are the Women’s Club, the Petroleum Wives Club and the Community Hostess. For information about these clubs, visit the Bakersfield Groups and Organizations website.

additional information

It is a good idea to gain a basic understanding of the American culture, history and language. Daily interactions and tasks will be completed in English. Chevron offers 80 hours of instruction to expatriate employees and their family members who relocate into the United States.
Pets can be brought into the United States. Dogs and cats must be free of disease when examined by customs. Further veterinarian examination may be required. All animals should have rabies shots 30 days prior to entry. Certain breeds may be required to remain in quarantine for a set time before being allowed into the population. More information about importing pets is available on here.

California recognizes religious freedom. Eighty-six different denominations are celebrated and practiced in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Business casual clothing is typically worn. On Fridays, employees in our main office (BK9525) dress casually and may wear jeans.
In addition to air travel from Meadows Field and Los Angeles (LAX), train transportation by Amtrak is available to San Francisco and Sacramento.
Flights from the Meadows Field airport typically require connecting through a larger airport to get to many U.S. destinations. Train, bus and automobile are good alternatives to air travel. To operate a vehicle, drivers must obtain a state driver license.

Asthmatics and others with breathing problems and/or heart conditions may have trouble adjusting to the poor air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. Other than that, hardships are minimal.

audiocast

Listen to a few minutes of a cultural orientation for an expatriate assignment in the United States (intranet access).
  • Length: 6:20 minutes