Celebrating STEM Education, Empowering Solution Seekers
Posted November 6, 2019
To mark National STEM Day this Friday, API and a group of partners are launching the STEM Careers Coalition that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the K-12 grades, with an emphasis on equity and access.
API, Discovery Education, Chevron, Boeing, Best Buy, The Manufacturing Institute, and Microsoft are committed to advancing the future of education through 2025 and beyond. The goal is to improve the learning experience for 10 million students in 5,000 schools nationwide – through direct investments in classrooms, connecting industry employees and students and creating an easily accessible career portal. Ultimately, the coalition will work to bridge the STEM workforce skills gap – which may leave 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018-2028, according to the Manufacturing Institute.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers underscored the importance of this effort:
“Investing in STEM education and introducing young people to innovative careers in the natural gas and oil industry is a critical step toward tackling the world’s greatest energy challenges and creating a better tomorrow. As an industry that supports more than 10 million American jobs, we’re committed to building the workforce of the future and preparing the next generation of leaders with the skills they need to succeed.”
Over the next five years, the STEM Careers Coalition aims to change the culture of education and prepare the next generation for the future of work by inspiring young people and elevating industry-related career pathways. Introducing students to STEM opportunities and skilled professions is an essential first step in maintaining a robust energy and manufacturing workforce, because students can’t seek out careers that they don’t know exist.
Misperceptions about STEM jobs, and a lack of personal connection to STEM experts and industry employees, contribute to the current workforce development projections. According to research from Randstad, more than half (52%) of students say they don’t know someone in a STEM job, and nearly three-quarters (76%) report not knowing much about what engineers do. That said, 56% of students surveyed say that connecting STEM subject matter to the real world makes the classroom more interesting.
The STEM Careers Coalition offers a solution to this information disparity by mobilizing current industry employees and creating an immersive, online destination for career profiles.
Access to STEM industries begins with awareness, and the coalition is uniquely positioned to introduce students to rewarding opportunities. The initiative will also address the lack of diversity in the energy and manufacturing workforce pipeline by focusing its outreach and investment in under-resourced schools.
Empowering educators to teach STEM effectively and calling on industry leaders to elevate the importance of classroom-to-career connections will accelerate solutions to our industry’s workforce development needs. STEM industry exposure is critical to eliminating the “inspiration gap” and cultivating career readiness skills among our nation’s primary and secondary students.
Much like the natural gas and oil industry, the STEM Careers Coalition is future-focused and solutions-oriented. We’ve consulted experts and gathered best practices to enhance learning for thousands of students and advance the STEM careers narrative. This year we’re proud to celebrate National STEM Day with a commitment to delivering state-of-the-art education and employment opportunities for American students, today and tomorrow.
For more information, visit STEMCareersCoalition.org.
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.
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