Oil and Gas Companies Partnering with Texas Schools to Fund STEM Education

This week, students across Texas will return to school with the opportunity to take a variety of new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes. That’s because oil and gas companies are working together with students and teachers around the state to expand and improve the state’s current STEM programs.

Just this week, the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) presented $100,000 to the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s (IPAA) Education Foundation in Houston. The funds will be used at the IPAA and Petroleum Equipment & Services Association’s (PESA) Energy Education Center, which works to give high school students enriching STEM education experiences that inspire them to pursue careers in oil and gas. NAPE cited the need to bridge the retirement gap within the industry as one of the top reasons for the organization’s contribution.

That’s not the only program underway.  Pioneer Natural Resources has joined with Midland Independent School District to launch the Petroleum Academy, a program that will put high schoolers interested in oil and gas careers on the fast track towards the certifications needed (such as engineering).

In addition, Exxon has been consistent advocate of STEM education in recent years. While the company sponsors programs around the state, Exxon’s employees can also volunteer to be “science ambassadors” at local schools, where they tell students about their experiences within the energy industry and describe how their STEM education has benefited them.

Exxon's ambassador program can be seen in schools across the state. (Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle)

Exxon’s ambassador program can be seen in schools across the state.  (SOURCE: Houston Chronicle)

Adding to the student programs, there are also STEM initiatives that aim to help Texas teachers. Kosmos Energy recently contributed a large sum to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas that will be used to fund the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute. The program will assist teachers by providing them with new ideas for engaging students in STEM subjects. Teachers from around the city will be able to utilize the program’s training tools.

Quality STEM programs like these can inspire interest in subjects such as math and science, and can help train young people for a future career in the energy industry. Texas oil and gas producers understand this workforce need, and are taking proactive steps to help improve the future of the industry, while also increasing Texas students’ chances of securing well-paid, high-skill jobs in the energy field.

According to a report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, economic forecasts for our nation suggest a need for approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than America is currently assumed to have. Partnerships between oil and gas producers and schools are helping to make this a reality.

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