Appalachia Partnership Initiative: Addressing Education and Workforce Development

Dec 4, 2014 Education

Two of the Power of 32’s 15 initiatives are focused on education. One education initiative is to create a regional STEAM network, the other is to match education programs to jobs. 

The recently announced Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API) addresses both of these issues.

Launched in October, API is a $20 million social investment program created by Chevron in collaboration with local partners — the Allegheny Conference on Community Development Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and RAND Corporation — to address education and workforce development needs in 27 counties across southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio. The program aims to improve education and technical training to develop a skilled workforce that can meet the needs of the growing energy industry and related manufacturing industries through the development of new programs and expansion of existing work.

According to Nigel Hearne, president of Chevron Appalachia, the company is “committed to increasing the quality of education in the region because we know that an educated and skilled workforce leads to economic growth — for our business, our partners and the communities where we operate.”

A 2012 workforce analysis report by the Allegheny Conference determined that a shortage of skills in the local workforce — especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — could prevent energy companies from filling thousands of new jobs in the region. API marks the beginning of a long-term commitment by Chevron and its partners to improve STEM education and further develop a highly-skilled regional workforce.

"Chevron is playing a much-needed leadership role in looking not just at jobs, but at the underlying need for enhanced STEM education and training for the region's energy workforce," said Dennis Yablonsky, chief executive officer of the Allegheny Conference. "This initiative is a big opportunity for all of us who care about the region's students, workers and economic prosperity, and we are proud to join with Chevron and its partners to support programs that will help us capitalize on economic opportunities made possible by the strength of the energy sector in our regional economy."    

As part of the API, Chevron announced new local commitments to education and workforce development that include expanding partnerships with and investments in:

  • Project Lead The Way: Chevron will expand its existing partnership with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to further build STEM programs in area K-12 schools through curriculum resources, hands-on science learning and teacher training. Since 2013, Chevron has funded the launch of 10 programs in four school districts in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Initiative funding will expand to support nearly 20 PLTW programs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio in 2014-2015.
  • ShaleNET: Chevron will work with ShaleNET, a workforce training program for the oil and natural gas industry, to provide scholarships to students at four community colleges in the Tri-State region. The partnership will also develop integrated workforce education programs through curriculum resources, supply chain connections, post-secondary training programs and skilled trade certifications.
  • Carnegie Mellon University: Chevron is funding development of an Energy Lab at Elizabeth Forward and Bethlehem Center school districts, working in conjunction with graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center who are developing interactive science curricula that will teach middle school students about a variety of energy resources.