supporting STEM to inspire America’s future innovators
In the Centennial High School library in Bakersfield, California, senior Austin Manzella watched his robot zigzag around the room using sensors to pinpoint and scoop up empty plastic bottles onto its floor-level conveyor belt – entertaining the students with its moves while teaching them how computer programming language can bring a piece of machinery to life.
“I had to apply elements of science, technology, engineering and math for it to function properly,” said Manzella, now an engineering major at Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Being able to see the direct results of projects like this is what inspired me to pursue a career in engineering.”
Manzella credits Chevron’s national education partner Project Lead The Way “Pathway to Engineering” programs for inspiring him to pursue further courses in engineering, including robotics.
The new global economy requires more budding engineers like Manzella to sustain and expand a workforce with crucial skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Twenty percent of all United States jobs – 26 million positions – require knowledge in at least one STEM field. In fact, the number of STEM jobs is estimated to grow 17 percent between 2014 and 2018. For all other fields combined, job growth is estimated to be only 9.8 percent over the same time period.
“Nothing is a bigger priority for a healthy U.S. economy than STEM education,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMConnector, an organization that works to advance STEM proficiency. “We have to excite kids about STEM jobs. It will take innovation, collaboration and partnership that we’ve not seen before, but I’m optimistic because we see so many leaders stepping up.”
In April 2014, Chevron invited other businesses to join the company in supporting project-based learning methods to increase engagement in STEM across the United States. We supported this call to action by announcing an additional $30 million commitment to create national partnerships with STEM-focused organizations, raising our total commitment to $130 million since 2011.
“Chevron is committed to increasing access to and the quality of education around the world because an educated and skilled workforce leads to economic growth – for our business, our partners and the communities where we operate,” said Steve Green, Chevron vice president of Policy, Government and Public Affairs. “If we want to truly make a difference, businesses must work together with education organizations, government officials, NGOs and community leaders to provide educators with the resources to interest students and prepare them for STEM-related careers of the future.”
chevron’s approach to STEM partnerships
Vince Bertram, president and CEO of Project Lead The Way, a leading provider of STEM curriculum in schools, said no single organization can produce broad-based results on its own. “A key role of the private sector is that it sends a clear market message to schools and to students that this work is important and relevant,” he said.
Chevron takes a holistic approach to investments in education by supporting educational programs and standards that promote activity and interest in STEM, especially project- and problem-based learning curriculum; enhancing teacher training; providing classroom resources; funding out-of-school activities; and developing partnerships with universities designed to strengthen faculty, curriculum and student development.
Our investments support STEM at every stage of learning–from K-12 through college and beyond. We do this in part by forming partnerships with leading education organizations.
We support a new National Academy of Engineering initiative that will provide expert, research-based guidance to those involved with overseeing engineering education in K–12. We’re working with the nonprofit Achieve to support the adoption and implementation of Next Generation Science Standards and to align programs supported by Chevron to these standards.
Chevron’s support to the Fab Foundation will bring fabrication labs (Fab Labs) to areas where Chevron operates in the U.S. In September 2014, Chevron launched its first sponsored Fab Lab at California State University, Bakersfield. A Fab Lab consists of a suite of digital fabrication and rapid prototyping machines, including 3-D printers. Working in Fab Labs, students can develop the critical thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills needed to become future innovators.
To inspire girls’ passion for STEM, Chevron partners with the nonprofit Techbridge. Our support funds after-school programs, student mentoring efforts and STEM summer camps. We also provide field trips to our facilities so girls can see firsthand the career opportunities in STEM.
Chevron is also expanding its work with Project Lead The Way. Our financial and volunteer support helps bring rigorous, project-based engineering curriculum to more than 100 schools in California, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, reaching more than 80,000 students.
Manzella is so eager to get started on his career that he’s on track to graduate a year early from college. “Most high schools give you a general education, but through Project Lead The Way and Chevron’s support I got an opportunity to learn about engineering that helped me decide what I wanted to do early in life,” he said. “My goal is to be a petroleum engineer and a part-time architect.” And continue his work to bring STEM to life.
To learn more about the programs and partnerships described here, visit:
Promoting education for critical thinking and problem solving
visit the Archive site
Bringing STEM to life for over 100,000 participants
visit the STEM Zone site
Project Lead The Way
Students solving real-life challenges through engineering curriculum
visit the Project Lead The Way site
The Fab Foundation
Training tomorrow’s innovators to build, make and do in “Fab Labs”
visit The Fab Foundation site
Fuel Your School
Over 17,000 classroom resources funded in 2,000 schools through DonorsChoose.org
visit the Fuel Your School site
University Partnership Program
Supporting 94 U.S. colleges and universities through scholarships, funding and upgrades
visit the University Partnership Program site
Published: May 2014