Workforce Development & Diversity Outreach Helps to Build Future Technical Workers
Apr 04, 2018
Every day, Shell engineers shatter the meaning of impossible. Our chemists formulate industry-leading products, while skilled workers in every trade operate our rigs and refineries safely. Accountants, IT experts and other pros keep our businesses running
All of these diverse workers have one thing in common: strong technical training. The question is, will today’s students be prepared to step into these roles tomorrow?
To make sure the answer is “Yes!”, Shell’s Workforce Development and Diversity Outreach (WDDO) group has already participated in several proactive programs this year. The activities are part of an ongoing, multi-faceted strategy that encourages a diverse range of students to follow technical career paths, according to WDDO manager Frazier Wilson
“Not enough students are studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. And many of those who do choose a STEM career path take their skills to other industries,” Wilson explains. According to a 2017 EY study, 62% of today’s students find a career in oil and gas unappealing. A disproportionate number of these are women.
To maintain a pipeline of future talent for Shell, the WDDO group partners with Shell businesses and with numerous organizations that are working to reverse these trends. Most programs target middle and high school students, who are often pressured to make uninformed education choices that will profoundly affect their lives. Last year, the group’s programs reached 1 million students, 90,000 parents and 145,000 teachers.
Here’s a look at some WDDO activities so far this year:
Helping Kids Make the Future
As a major sponsor of the DiscoverE Future City Competition national finals in Washington, D.C., Shell delivered a clear message to budding engineers: Students who develop their STEM skills can help overcome today’s energy challenges and make a better future.
DiscoverE Susan Moore
Students danced with excitement to the tunes of Shell’s Make the Future video during a presentation by Susan Moore, Project Delivery Manager – Vito, SIEP. Susan, who also sits on the DiscoverE Leadership Council, has served as an inspirational role model for aspiring female engineers at the event for three years.
More than 40,000 middle-school students from 1,350 schools participated in this prestigious engineering challenge. But the WDDO group used social media to reach students beyond the immediate audience. Susan’s talk streamed live on DiscoverE’s Facebook page and website. She also promoted the program in a video. Updates via twitter helped keep students engaged even after the competition.
Blazing Trails in Texas
The Shell-sponsored TAME Trailblazer recently rolled in to Kermit, Texas, the epicenter of Shell’s Permian Basin activities. Built and operated by volunteer engineers for the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME), the 40-foot mobile trailer showcases STEM career opportunities for the next generation. About 145 middle school students and 120 4th graders explored the hands-on exhibits in the trailer. Local Shell volunteers teamed up with high school students to serve as guides.
At the end of the school day, Scott Scheffler and Laura Snyder from the Shell External Relations visited the STEM club at Kermit Junior High School, where students were building solar ovens and programming robots. Shell sponsors the after-school program through the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Educational Services Centers.
Science projects have the power to spark imaginations and inspire a lifelong interest in STEM subjects. Showing a project at a science fair can be life-changing. Perhaps remembering their own early beginnings, 16 Shell professionals (including eight with PhD’s) eagerly volunteered as judges for the 59th annual Science Engineering Fair of Houston.
Held at the University of Houston, the event is the largest science fair of its kind in Texas and one of the largest in the world. Last year, 1,367 students from 135 middle and high schools displayed their projects in several categories, ranging from animal science to mathematics. These represented the best of more than 35,000 projects that were entered in preliminary competitions.
Helping Hispanics Connect with College
Shell volunteers and their families once again rallied to support STEM education at the Houston Hispanic Forum’s 32nd Annual Career and Education Day. Some served as panelists while others staffed the Shell booth. All served as role models to the estimated 13,000 students and their families who poured into the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
A signature program for the Shell Hispanic Employee Network (SHEN), the event connected students and their parents with all the resources they need to prepare for college. Representatives from more than 100 colleges, universities and trade schools explained the admission process. Experts helped students apply for financial aid on the spot. Meanwhile, teachers attended workshops to help them prepare students for higher education.
Students who visited the Shell booth learned about career opportunities by playing the Shell Career Quiz. Many of those who donned virtual reality goggles to play Shell’s Hydrocarbon Hunt game said it changed their perception of the oil and gas industry.
How important is this event?
Official counts aren’t in yet, but 80% of the students who attended last year said the Career and Education Day persuaded them to go to college.
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We believe that in the power of people’s ingenuity lie the answers to tomorrow’s energy challenges. Together we can #makethefuture today.