Posted April 4, 2018
We’ve been talking a lot lately about the priority the natural gas and oil industry has placed on developing its workforce of the future, with research indicating tons of opportunity for women, African-Americans, Hispanics and Millennials. The connecting thread between good industry careers and the men and women who will fill them is education – specifically, education in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Consider:
- With 40 percent or more of industry’s worker base on track to retire by 2035, hundreds of thousands of African Americans, Hispanics and women are projected to fill 1.9 million new job opportunities in our industry by that time, according to an IHS study.
- Millennials, who account for 34 percent of total employment in the natural gas and oil and petrochemicals industries, are projected to be 41 percent of that workforce by 2025, a 20 percent increase.
- Opportunity also exists for members of the military transitioning to civilian life – more than 1 million over the next four years.
Against that backdrop, we’re excited to be a part of twin events emphasizing STEM this week and weekend in Washington, D.C. – the US News/STEM Solutions Workforce of Tomorrow conference and the USA Science & Engineering Festival – both at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Look for us at the Power Past Impossible and Energy Citizens booths in convention center’s expo hall.
The Workforce of Tomorrow conference (through Friday, hashtag #STEMsolve) draws leaders from a variety of industry sectors, university presidents and top policymakers – all focused on developing a workforce skilled in STEM subjects. API President and CEO Jack Gerard is among a list of keynote speakers that also includes Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
The festival features an exhibit hall and a full schedule of speeches and topical discussions. Scheduled sessions include “Connecting the Dots, Filling in Blanks: How to Get What You Need and Why Training Matters,” “The Life-Changing Power of STEM: Tackling Engineering’s Grand Challenges,” and “Bringing More Women into the Fold in STEM.” Here’s a wrap-up video from last year’s event:
The USA Science & Engineering Festival (Saturday and Sunday, hashtag #SciFest) is billed as the nation’s largest celebration of STEM, a gathering of speakers, stage shows, exhibits and activities designed to interest attendees ranging in age from toddler to adult. See the event’s FAQ section, here. Here’s a video on the conference featuring the event’s founder, Larry Bock (who passed away in 2016):
Again, we’ll be at both events. Stop by the PPI and Energy Citizens booths and learn more about the natural gas and oil industry’s role in helping people meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. Booth visitors can try out a brief virtual reality demo. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet some of the industry executives, analysts and engineers of the future!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Wallace is an associate of research and content development for the American Petroleum Institute. Before joining API she was a researcher and policy analyst at America’s Natural Gas Alliance, and worked on pollinator conservation programs and state wildlife conservation policies before entering the energy industry. Kate graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in Resource Economics, and earned her Master of Public Administration from George Mason University. She loves taking her dogs on hikes, travelling and navigating the northern Virginia/DC craft beer and wine scenes with her friends and family.