Expanding Educational Opportunity For a More Diverse Workforce
Posted March 4, 2021
The natural gas and oil industry is preparing for the future by investing in the next generation of engineers, scientists and problem solvers. We’re committed to attracting and retaining a diverse, inclusive and resilient workforce of men and women ready to tackle the world’s energy and climate challenges.
Expanding access to educational opportunities is essential in this endeavor.
To this end, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association (LMOGA) are excited to announce two new additions to the industry’s Minority Serving Institution (MSI) initiative. Late last month, we welcomed Southern University and A&M College and Grambling State University – joining Prairie View A&M University – as participants in this program, which provides access to API’s best-in-class standards for free to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other MSIs.
API is working to expand the program nationwide. We welcome your outreach regarding the inclusion of additional MSIs in this endeavor.
The initiative promotes diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry’s workforce by offering API’s standards catalog, including over 700 standards which advance safety and sustainability in industry operations, to accredited MSIs of higher learning. This effort supports the broader industry’s commitment to employer and supply chain diversity, and it has received strong endorsements from Louisiana state lawmakers.
State Sen. Ed Price (D-District 2) and State Rep. Ken Brass (D-District 58), both HBCU graduates themselves, have praised the program’s expansion. Sen. Price:
“Making the API standards available to the engineering department at no cost truly ensures that the next generation of oilfield workers are properly equipped to have a safe and prosperous energy career. I look forward to continuing to work with the oil and natural gas industry to build a bright future for all Louisianans.”
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.
As the energy sector evolves, API standards will provide the foundation for continuous improvements in industry operations and environmental performance. The natural gas and oil industry is proud to partner with HBCUs to deliver access to these state-of-the-art resources, empowering students to explore industry-related careers and accelerate innovation.
About The Author
Lem Smith is API’s vice president for Federal Relations. Lem joined API in February 2020 as vice president for Upstream Policy & Industry Operations. He previously served as a principal at Squire Patton Boggs, an international law and public-policy firm, where he advised private and public sector clients on federal and multi-state policy matters and provided counsel on communications strategies, campaign affairs and crises management. Previously, Lem was director, U.S. Government & Regulatory Affairs at Encana, and responsible for all aspects of U.S. government relations and regulatory policy matters at the state and federal levels. Prior to that, Lem was director of Government Relations for Kerr-McGee Corporation. Lem began his career on Capitol Hill, working for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker (Mississippi) and the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood (Georgia), where he negotiated key member priorities within the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPAct). Lem is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
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