Developing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills at all education levels is a top priority for the U.S. natural gas and oil industry as we prepare future generations of workers by supporting instruction in these critical topic areas ahead of major energy and environmental challenges to come.
At the same time, investing in STEM education helps advance another top industry priority – strengthening our workforce through further diversification and by fostering equity and inclusion.
In particular, we are committed to helping more women and people of color pursue fulfilling, good-paying careers through STEM education because we know that a diverse workforce that fosters equity and inclusion is foundational to a strong, successful natural gas and oil industry.
It’s a big win for all involved:
Reliable Employment: America’s natural gas and oil industry supports 11 million jobs.
Great Pay: Non-retail direct industry jobs pay 80% more than the average job in the U.S.
Equal Opportunity: Research indicates 1.9 million job opportunities will be available in the natural gas, oil and petrochemical industries in the next 20 years. About half of them are projected to be filled by people who identify as African American, Hispanic, Asian or non-white.
Those last statistics take on greater importance because right now only 15% of engineers are women. Meanwhile, across all STEM disciplines of workers, just 9% are African American and 8% are Hispanic.
We are proud and prepared to help close that gap as STEM issues remain foundational for our entire industry. Our workforce of problem solvers tackle the world’s greatest energy challenges day in and day out. To continue to do that, we aim to attract and retain the best and brightest from every community.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers echoed these messages last week during an executive roundtable discussion, “STEM Workforce Development Through an Equity Lens,” organized by Discovery Education and the STEM Careers Coalition:
“We are working to address the greatest challenge of our time, which is climate change. And unless we as an industry are attracting the best and brightest from all communities, we aren’t going to be able to meet the climate challenge that we know exists – to provide affordable, reliable energy for the world while at the same time reducing our environmental impact. That’s why we need a diverse workforce moving forward.”
API has partnered with Discovery Education and the STEM Careers Coalition since its launch in 2019. Through these efforts, we develop and promote STEM education resources at 75 schools around the country, supporting about 6,300 students and nearly 1,000 teachers. By demonstrating the connection between the classroom and the real world, we hope to inspire the next generation of industry leaders and professionals – and show the world how American energy leadership is a force for good.
Courtesy API/By Lem Smith