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Industry Volunteers Promote Energy Careers at Virtual STEM Roundtables

Earlier this month, volunteers from industry associations and Council Member Companies took part in a virtual STEM Career Roundtable with freshmen students from Odessa High School. The event was hosted by the IPAA Energy Workforce Education Center’s Career Exploration Program, which is implemented in 57 counties in west Texas and southeast New Mexico.

Mikal Kahm“I’m excited about a STEM career because it opens up more opportunities to make the world more advanced technologically,” wrote Mikal Kahm, one of the participating students, who said he’s excited about a STEM career because of the roundtable. “I want to be a Machine Learning Engineer. I think this job gives opportunities for robots to perform tasks that are dangerous for people.”

Volunteers from EOG Resources, Ovintiv, Tomahawk Safety and the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) addressed students. The program was made possible by the sponsorship support of Occidental Petroleum, the Council, AAPL, Texas Oil & Gas Association and Halliburton.

The program is designed to help students explore their interests and talents, and then examine a wide range of careers that need STEM skills, including energy industry occupations such as geologists, engineers, landmen, project managers, and technicians. Volunteers emphasized the increasing need for expertise and solutions around data analysis, machine learning, automation and digitalization.

Since fall 2018, the IPAA Energy Workforce Center has provided the STEM Career Exploration Program to middle school students in the Permian Basin at no cost to the schools. The digital program includes curriculum materials for teachers to lead discussions, as well as in-person or virtual career roundtables with industry professionals.

To date, the program has reached 65 schools and more than 3,500 students in 24 school districts in the Permian.


Kevin Broom, Director Communications and Research, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.