HOUSTON, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- To increase access to educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) that will open doors to rewarding careers, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is launching a new social responsibility program, the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, for students enrolled in elementary school through post-secondary education – and beyond.

CITGO is kicking off the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline with a series of grants for schools and educational organizations near its operational areas including Houston (where its corporate headquarters is located) and its three refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lake Charles, La., and Lemont, Ill. The company is also providing scholarships for students pursuing higher degrees in STEM fields. CITGO plans to utilize the experience of its own employees through mentoring efforts, as well.

"Around the country and in our own industry, we are experiencing a shortage of professionals with the technical skills necessary for our workforce to succeed. The CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program seeks to address this challenge by providing students with the resources they need to excel in science, technology, engineering and math-related careers," said CITGO President and CEO Nelson Martinez. "CITGO has long been committed to enhancing STEM-related opportunities for students through college scholarships and support for science fairs, robotic clubs, field trips, mentorships and other hands-on experiences. Now, with the creation of our STEM Talent Pipeline, we are able to unify and formalize this dedication to education and workforce development."

To further the mission of the program, CITGO is working with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project to provide workshops for local educators near all three CITGO refineries. The NEED Project, which began on National Energy Education Day 35 years ago, trains teachers on how to provide comprehensive lessons on energy in the classroom with its portfolio of over 130 teacher and student guides.

Additionally, near its Houston headquarters, CITGO is making donations to support the following efforts:

  • CITGO Scholarships: CITGO is awarding scholarships to Houston-area high school seniors enrolled in STEM degree programs.
  • STEM in the Classroom: CITGO is providing grants for teachers, classrooms and schools in the Alief, Houston and Spring Branch Independent School Districts (ISDs) to award those offering innovative STEM programming.
  • Girlstart: A CITGO donation is expanding access to and growing interest in STEM amongst girls in the Alief ISD by providing afterschool programming.
  • University of Houston-Downtown Summer Camp: CITGO is supporting the development of a new module providing a deeper dive into STEM topics at its Houston Prep summer camp for middle and early high school students.

CITGO grants are supporting the following efforts in Corpus Christi:

  • The Del Mar College Foundation Scholarships: CITGO is enabling the Del Mar College Foundation to provide scholarships to Moody High School seniors pursuing dual credit courses and scholarships for certification and degree programs at the college.
  • The Moody STEMification Outreach Fueled by CITGO: This program encourages underrepresented students at Foy H. Moody High School in the Corpus Christi ISD to explore STEM-related college majors and careers. CITGO support is allowing students to participate in robotics, coding and environmental awareness activities.

In Lake Charles, CITGO is providing grants for the following activities:

  • SOWELA Technical Community College Grants and Scholarships: A CITGO grant is allowing the college to provide math classes to targeted high schoolers in the Calcasieu Parish School System and award competitive scholarships to participants who enroll in a STEM-related program at the community college. CITGO is also enabling SOWELA to create iCamp, a five-day summer program designed to promote and spur interest in STEM programs among Calcasieu Parish high school students. Participants will be exposed to process technology, drafting, lab analyst and electrical/instrumentation programs.
  • McNeese College of Engineering and Computer Science Summer Engineering Academy: CITGO is supporting an engineering summer program at the university for high school students in the summer of 2017.
  • The Calcasieu Parish School Board's "Engineering is Elementary" Program:  CITGO is providing an engineering-focused curriculum to afterschool clubs for fourth and fifth grade students in Calcasieu Parish.

CITGO support is also enabling the following efforts in Lemont:

  • Joliet Junior College Foundation Scholarships: Support from CITGO is enabling Joliet Junior College to offer scholarships for certification and degree programs needed for refinery jobs.
  • Joliet Junior College STEM Academy Fueled by CITGO: A CITGO donation is going toward a year's worth of programming to increase the awareness and knowledge of area students on STEM-related careers. Activities include a STEM Exploration Fair, workshops, high school competitions, manufacturing day and technology camps. The STEM Exploration Fair is taking place in October, followed by a summer camp for students from kindergarten through 12th grade in 2017.
  • CITGO Innovation and Learning Lab at Lockport Township High School: CITGO is enabling the school to construct and develop a new laboratory, providing students and teachers access to state-of-the-art STEM resources and hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Lemont High School STEM WOW!: CITGO is supporting the school's STEM-centered initiatives to foster inclusion for both students with disabilities and general education students. Through the program, called STEM WOW!, general education students benefit by providing coaching and mentoring to their peers, while special education students receive instruction through hands-on activities with a remotely operated vehicle, working on real-world problems.
  • Valley View School District Robotics Program: A CITGO grant is going toward an afterschool robotics program for the district's students in grades nine through 12 this fall.

The CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline is also awarding scholarships to students attending universities from which CITGO recruits talent, in the states of Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Indiana.

As the program continues to develop, CITGO will unveil additional programs that encourage students to focus on STEM, enable teachers to foster a passion for STEM subjects and recruit new talent into its workforce.

For further information on the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline Program, visit: http://www.citgo.com/SocialResponsibility/Education/STEM.jsp

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.  

SOURCE CITGO Petroleum Corporation