Several factors drive the success of America’s oil and gas industry. Today, for instance, technology and innovation are central to our global energy leadership.
But ultimately, two extraordinary resources are at the heart of our industry’s strength — our skilled workforce and America’s tremendous natural resources.
The future growth and prosperity of our industry depend on how we develop these essential resources. We need both increased people-power and expanded access to energy resources to drive growth and continue bringing the benefits of reliable, affordable energy to our nation.
Our industry is ready to make the investments and do the work to develop our workforce and natural resources — but we also need public policies at all levels of government that support our efforts. Building a Workforce for the Future The oil and natural gas industry currently supports about 10.3 million jobs and could add another 1.9 million jobs through 2035. Our growing workforce will represent the diversity of our nation. Over the next two decades, hundreds of thousands of men, women and minorities will find employment with energy companies.
We are also primed for the future with the number of younger professionals on the rise. More than one third of the energy workforce is made up of millennials — and that level will increase to 41 percent by 2025.
Filling future energy positions will be vital to our industry’s success — and a large portion of these jobs will require education and training in STEM (short for science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines.
Many energy companies are already dedicating resources to advancing STEM education through a variety of programs in our schools and communities. ExxonMobil Corporation, Chevron Corporation, BP plc, ConocoPhillips Company and other firms support STEM education by sponsoring teacher training, science camps and curriculum development, among other initiatives.
Every member of our industry can help by encouraging young people to consider careers in oil and natural gas. In many communities, there are various opportunities to volunteer in classrooms to help with STEM education.
We also need to encourage officials at all levels of government to align educational policies with the needs of our economy and society. When you have the opportunity, stand up and speak out in favor of STEM education. Participating in American Petroleum Institute’s workforce advocacy program, Energy Nation, can help you become a champion for educational policies that will help America build a strong workforce for the future. Accessing and Transporting America’s Energy Resources In the coming years, with strengthened STEM education, America’s energy industry will have a strong pipeline of skilled workers, ready to build on the success of our industry’s current leadership.
But to succeed, the next generation of energy employees will need the opportunity to go to work. They will need to be able to access the wealth of our nation’s oil and natural gas resources — on land and offshore. And they will need to be able to move these resources to market, drawing on a robust energy infrastructure and pipeline network.
On both counts — access and infrastructure — our industry continues to face opposition from well-organized, well-funded anti-energy activists. Our nation will sacrifice the security and economic value of our energy resources if too many of us sit silent, while these activists derail infrastructure projects and succeed with their “Keep It in the Ground” policies.
We need to stand up now for our resources — for the energy that powers and protects our nation and to provide our people with varied career opportunities. One of the best ways for SHALE readers to be advocates for STEM education, energy access, and infrastructure development is to participate in Energy Nation.
To learn more about Energy Nation and its mission, visit www.energynation.org.