New study: STEM education is the key to diversifying America’s energy workforce
WASHINGTON, November 29, 2017 – A new RAND Corporation study commissioned by American Petroleum Institute study concluded that many of tomorrow’s best-paying careers, including those in the oil and natural gas industry, will require training or education in a STEM discipline, and highlighted opportunities for women and minorities. Today API unveiled the report during an event at George Washington University in partnership with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
“The oil and natural gas industry will experience significant turnover and growth in the years to come, greatly expanding career opportunities for women and communities of color,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “This study shows that STEM education is the key to creating a workforce that reflects the many faces of this great nation with skilled workers of all backgrounds.”
“This report will help shape government and education policies that will expand job opportunities and economic development for communities of color,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton. “The study clearly shows that STEM education can be a primary driver of employment opportunities and economic mobility, especially as the economy evolves over the next decade. Energy is a growing sector, and it is critical that the future energy workforce reflect the diversity of our nation.”
In addition to the millions of jobs already supported by the industry, 1.9 million new job opportunities are projected through 2035, with almost 707,000 job opportunities that are projected to be filled by minorities and more than 290,000 anticipated to be filled by women. And, in 2015, millennials accounted for 34 percent of direct industry employment. That share is projected to rise to 41 percent over the next decade.
Findings from the new API report showed that nearly 20 percent of all current U.S. jobs require STEM skills and or training. Projections show that STEM jobs will grow about 9 percent between 2014-2024, faster than the growth rate projected for non-related STEM occupations.
Highlights from the new report:
- A STEM bachelor’s degree nearly doubles the likelihood of working in the oil and natural gas industry, and earning a degree in an industry specific or related field increases the likelihood of working in the industry by three to seven times.
- STEM skills are important at every education level. It is estimated that nearly half of all STEM jobs do not require a four-year degree and that a third of all STEM jobs are in blue collar occupations. This is especially significant in the natural gas and oil industry, where more than one million blue collar job opportunities are projected through 2035.
- Almost without exception, across all education levels, degree majors, gender, race, ethnicity and occupation types, those who work in the oil and natural gas industry earn more than those who do not.
The Joint Center, founded in 1970 as the Black think tank, remains anchored in the African American community and collaborates closely with organizations from other communities. The Joint Center focuses on the future of work and the use of technology to improve quality of life in communities with significant African American populations.
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.