Educating Our Youth: STEM Initiatives

Pennsylvania is an energy powerhouse, and success in the energy business often depends on the workings of government and on the support of the public. That’s where Bravo Group comes in, to help the world’s leading energy firms establish ties to—and build support among—policymakers and the citizens of Pennsylvania.

As the Pennsylvania natural gas industry continues to boom, now is a more important time than ever to gain support for the construction and expansion of pipelines for Marcellus Shale. With PA quickly growing into a major natural gas hub, there is a high demand for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions to be filled, but there is currently a low supply of qualified candidates.

Universities across the state have begun to implement programs to train and attract more students to STEM educational paths, so as they graduate they will take on jobs in these related fields. As the industry continues to flourish, qualified engineers, technicians, scientists, and countless other positions are in high demand. These jobs are not only numerous and available, but produce high-paying wages. Sixty percent of the new jobs that will become available across the country in the 21st Century will require skills possessed by only 20 percent of current workforce. Two-thirds of those jobs will require at least some post-secondary education. The need for educational STEM programs in every level of schooling, including higher education, is absolutely necessary.

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The U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skilled workers by 2018, so the need for trained professionals in STEM is serious and immediate. To fill this gap, initiatives have arisen to target students early on to get them interested in STEM classes and subject matters. This means not only targeting a gifted few, but expanding the reach to all youth in the U.S., especially girls as their presence in STEM fields is greatly lacking.

With women making up less than 15 percent of all American engineers, the approach to educating youth on STEM within our schools is shifting. The National Girls Collaborative Project is an initiative that aims to bring together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Closing the gender gap in STEM industries is the first step in diversifying and expanding these growing fields.

The Appalachia Partnership Initiative focuses on boosting skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math to better prepare students for jobs in the energy and manufacturing sectors. As Chevron has recently donated millions to this initiative, the president of Chevron Appalachia, Nigel, stated that, “Our success is deeply linked to the region’s progress, and we believe the Appalachia Partnership Initiative will act as a catalyst for social investment that addresses workforce development and helps to build a new energy economy that creates jobs and economic development opportunities.” This is true for regions all over PA, investing in STEM education is an investment in the future of the state’s economy.

 

Andrea Fetchko  |  BRAVOGROUP  |  Harrisburg

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