API, Historically Black Colleges and Universities Partner on Access to Industry Standards
Posted February 23, 2021
American Petroleum Institute (API) recently announced the first three participants in its new higher education initiative which makes all 700+ API standards accessible, free of charge, to students at accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Prairie View A&M University, Southern University and A&M College and Grambling University are the program’s first participants and as we mark Black History Month – celebrating diversity and the contributions of Black Americans – this news is especially timely.
API’s new program is a natural follow-on to last October’s Facebook conversation between Dr. Benjamin Chavis, National Newspaper Publishers Association president and CEO, and Mike Sommers, API President and CEO, in which they discussed career opportunities for African Americans in the natural gas and oil industry.
Providing free access to our library of world class standards for oil and gas equipment, processes and systems allows these institutions to introduce their students to practical knowledge and industry standards that will be immediately applicable in their future careers. And partnering with these highly regarded institutions fosters our industry’s drive toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce.
Nearly 54% of the 1.9 million job opportunities expected to be created over the next two decades in natural gas, oil and petrochemical industry are projected to be filled by people of color, according to a recent study prepared for API by IHS Global.
Many of these opportunities will be for highly skilled workers, including engineers. Democratic State Rep. Ken Brass is a member of the House of Representatives in Louisiana, home to Southern and Grambling, and he sees API’s initiative as an opportunity to ensure students have first-of-a-kind access to industry standards:
“This partnership between API and both universities will provide our students with an additional resource that can be used to enhance their technical knowledge and prepare them as they move into their careers in engineering.”
Brass, who is an electrical engineering graduate of Southern, was integral in supporting the new API program to make API standards available to students at the two schools in his state. More historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority serving institutions are expected to join the MSI initiative in the coming months.
Access to these standards will enhance the quality of the students’ overall educational experience, making them more knowledgeable and competitive in the job market. Because API standards are widely used by our industry globally to ensure health, safety and environmental protection, and advance sustainability, students will benefit significantly by increasing their familiarity and understanding of the standards themselves, as well as the development process.
The MSI initiative reflects the commitment by API and the natural gas and oil industry to help people of color thrive in professional careers. In 2019, API helped launch the STEM Careers Coalition, joining with Microsoft and other industry leaders to make science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) resources available specifically to K-12 students attending Title 1 schools.
API has operated as the global leader in establishing and maintaining standards for the natural gas and oil industry since 1924. API standards help enhance operational safety, environmental protection and sustainability, while working to ensure that industry knowledge is accurately transferred amongst engineers and across organizations. These standards and recommended practices are also relied upon by regulators around the world, with more than 600 references in U.S. federal regulations, 3,800 citations in U.S. state regulations, and over 789 references by international regulators.
About The Author
Debra Phillips is senior vice president of API’s Global Industry Services division, which is responsible for standards setting, certification, training, events, publications and safety programs for industry operations. Before joining API, Debra served on the leadership team at the American Chemistry Council, where she was the catalyst behind the chemical industry’s sustainability strategy. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Albright College and holds a master’s degree in environmental toxicology from Duke University.
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