Empowering STEM Education in Pennsylvania
In OAGDC's primary operating state of Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry accounts for more than 320,000 jobs1. We aim to contribute to programs that ensure our neighbors have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are vital to our future. Professionals in STEM-related jobs are working to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. Encouraging students to seek STEM opportunities is a focus of our educational giving efforts.
Located in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas (LCPNG) is an ideal partner to support the growth of work-ready local residents for the region’s petroleum and natural gas firms. In addition to collaborating on curriculum and supporting lectures, field trips and intern opportunities, OAGDC created a $2.5 million endowment for LCPNG scholarships, equipment, curriculum development and long-term needs.
The school offers four associate’s degree programs in the field: petroleum and natural gas technology, natural gas compression technology, petroleum and natural gas measurement, and petroleum and natural gas business administration. The curriculum is revised every year to align with what the industry needs at the moment. Learning from the industry perspective gives students a significant career advantage – nearly 100 percent of students who are actively seeking employment after graduation find it in the oil and gas industry – and more than 70 percent of the school’s graduates are hired by major oil and gas companies.
“Our partnership with OAGDC enhances tremendously the ability of the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas to provide a world-class education designed to prepare a ready workforce that fits the needs of the multiple companies across the industry,” said college President Mark Volk. “Beyond just an investment in Lackawanna College, through this collaborative effort, OAGDC is making an investment in our students and our community.”
Since the creation of the endowment with LCPNG, OAGDC has accepted summer interns from Lackawanna College to gain real-world knowledge of the industry. Interns are paired with field operators who mentor the students and facilitate the hands-on experience that is so valuable to the learning process. This also gives OAGDC a unique opportunity to gauge the students who will be graduating from Lackawanna and have a basis to make hiring decisions.
In 2016, a pilot program was established between LCPNG and Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC). This Pipeline Program allowed for 11th and 12th graders to take college-level courses specific to the curriculum of LCPNG and receive college credit while attending school at SCCTC. OAGDC covered the costs associated with these courses, such as equipment, materials and text books used by students and faculty. During the first year, 10 students participated in the program. The program will be expanded to additional career and technology centers in the near future.
Opportunities in Energy
The Opportunities in Energy program, created by Junior Achievement in partnership with the energy industry, exposes students to the profound impacts of today’s energy revolution and presents opportunities for young adults to secure family-sustaining careers. Since the program’s inception in northeastern Pennsylvania, we have made an impact on students at several local high schools, including Valley View High School, Elk Lake High School, Montrose High School and beyond. To facilitate the experience, OAGDC and other energy-related companies host a day-long career exploration program in which students rotate through several core areas: engineering, geology, alternative energies, nuclear power generation, pipelines, utilities, and oil and natural gas development. Experts from each field provide background information, discuss career opportunities and present interactive, hands-on activities. Students not destined for a career in the energy industry take a lot away from the program, too, seeing firsthand that everyday things like plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and even hairspray are not possible without access to affordable, abundant energy.
1 Impacts of the Natural Gas and Oil Industry on the US economy in 2015; http://www.api.org/~/media/Files/Policy/Jobs/Oil-and-Gas-2015-Economic-Impacts-Final-Cover-07-17-2017.pdf