SULPHUR, La. – Dec. 22, 2016 – The CITGO Lake Charles Refinery, in partnership with The National Energy Education Development Project (NEED), recently hosted an informational and educational workshop for 30 local STEM teachers to enhance the science, technology, engineering and math-based education curriculum used in their classrooms.
The CITGO Energy Workshop was part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline initiative, which was launched this year, to increase access to STEM educational opportunities in the communities surrounding the company’s operational areas. The workshop took place during the month of November at CITGO Park and provided hands-on learning experience, including interactive learning games for the teachers who represented 18 local schools. The workshop provided STEM teachers with additional resources to add to their current energy curriculum to help engage students’ understanding of the oil and gas technology refining process.
In addition to this workshop, CITGO employees engaged in a two-hour NEED Outreach Training to learn about resources they can take with them to the classroom when visiting local schools to promote STEM education and careers in industry.
CITGO has partnered with NEED to increase local teachers’ knowledge of energy via teacher training; to increase the level of energy knowledge in students via integration of energy curriculum into the classroom after teacher training and curriculum are provided; to assist teachers and students in understanding energy careers and career paths at CITGO and in the oil, gas and transportation industry; and to encourage student interest in STEM subjects and STEM careers.
CITGO Lake Charles Refinery Vice President and General Manager Tomeu Vadell said that workshops like this one foster environments for creativity in educational development. “CITGO looks forward to continuing to promote STEM education in our communities and providing teachers with the resources they need to inspire their students. STEM education is about more than just training; it is a training ground for future industry leaders including engineers, scientists and technologists,” Vadell said.
NEED Executive Director Mary Spruill said The NEED Project is honored to partner with CITGO in Lake Charles to bring engaging and energizing STEM activities and training to teachers and students in the local community. “The CITGO commitment to training their employees to support teachers using the curriculum in the classroom and sharing about careers in the energy industry is a comprehensive approach to engaging students and teachers for the long term. The CITGO model is an extraordinary way to really impact local STEM education,” she said.
Teachers who attended the CITGO NEED Energy Workshop represented schools including E.K. Key Elementary School; Fairview Elementary School; Frasch Elementary School; Glen Oaks Park Elementary School; Henry Heights Elementary School; LaGrange High School; LeBlanc Middle School; Maplewood Elementary School; Moss Bluff Elementary School; Oak Park Middle School; Oberlin Elementary School; Our Lady Queen of Heaven School; S.J. Welsh Middle School; Saint Martinville Primary School; St. Louis Catholic High School; St. Peter and Paul Catholic School; T.H. Watkins Elementary School and Washington Marion High School.
About the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline
The CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program partners with educational organizations near the company’s operational areas to increase access to educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The program promotes the importance of STEM education in the socio-economic development of our communities and highlights the numerous pathways to rewarding careers, including those in the energy industry. It provides grants to schools and educational organizations to support programs that increase student interest, retention and graduation rates – particularly at the high school and post-secondary levels – and those that prepare students for STEM technical and university level curriculum. The program also provides scholarships for students pursuing higher degrees in STEM fields. In 2016, the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline has already benefited 3,000 students and 300 educators across the CITGO operational footprint, strengthening the communities where the company has a presence.
Almost 35 years ago, The NEED Project began as a one-day celebration of energy education when National Energy Education Day was recognized by a Joint Congressional Resolution. In the same year, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation stressing the need for comprehensive energy education in our schools. Since its founding, NEED has kept its Kids Teaching Kids philosophy as a fundamental principle of NEED programming – encouraging students to explore, experiment and engage, and encouraging teachers to embrace student leadership in the classroom. NEED trains and assists teachers in harnessing the energy of the classroom – the energy of students. NEED is expanding and evolving to best meet the needs of teachers and students – in the classroom and beyond.
CITGO believes in the power of education, and we are committed to nurturing the ongoing learning experiences that fuel the knowledge our communities require to thrive and in equipping the workforce for the future. The Energy Workshop is just one example of how CITGO supports education locally. CITGO Lake Charles is also a Partner in Education to four local schools including E.K. Key Elementary, Alternative Site, Sulphur High School and Sulphur High School 9th Grade. We also support McNeese State University and SOWELA Technical Community College.