Article Nov. 8, 2023
A National “Day” we can all get behind
- Science and technology underpin everything we do at ExxonMobil, so National STEM Day hits home for us.
- We want to help refill the STEM pipeline with the best and brightest engineers and scientists.
- Now we’re taking it to the next level – rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves.
Article Nov. 8, 2023
Every turn of the calendar seems to offer up “National This Day” or “National That Day,” and – let’s be honest – a few of these are a little absurd. (Looking directly at you, National Name Your PC Day.)
Some of these annual celebrations, however, really are meaningful.
Today offers one such example. Every November 8, we observe National STEM Day, which shines a spotlight on the critical need to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.
Science and technology underpin everything we do at ExxonMobil, so National STEM Day hits home for us. More than 18,000 of our employees globally are scientists or engineers.
We’re usually described as a large energy company, but you could easily also call us a large STEM company. We support STEM education because we’re looking down the road to the future generations of scientists and engineers needed to move our industry forward.
And there are gaps to be filled.
Some of it can be chalked up to COVID-caused learning loss. Unfortunately, the trendline was concerning well before the pandemic presented new challenges for students. Not so long ago, just one in four U.S. high school seniors was considered sufficiently proficient in math and science.
It’s not time to push the panic button. But neither is it time to sit idly by.
Unless we take action, there won’t be enough STEM professionals to help support and grow the economy and high-tech industries, including energy, deep into the 21st century.
We’ve got to get back on track, and we’re willing to do our part. Since 2000, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation have contributed $1.6 billion to education, much of it supporting the National Math & Science Initiative and similar STEM programs in the U.S. and around the world.
But the best may be yet to come.
The ExxonMobil Foundation is setting up free training for middle school math and science teachers at under-resourced schools so they have the tools, skillset, and resources they need to teach STEM concepts effectively and to inspire STEM curiosity and learning in their students. The ExxonMobil Foundation is also establishing two pilot ExxonMobil Foundation Teen Engineering and Tech Centers – scheduled to open next fall in the greater Houston area – to provide high school students with fun, hands-on STEM education and introduce them to potential STEM careers, at no cost to the students or their families.
What’s unique about these centers is the ExxonMobil Foundation plans to run them, staffed by experienced education professionals. While we’ve traditionally made financial contributions to worthy organizations and efforts – and we’ll continue to do so – we also want to leverage our company’s core competencies and scale to be a direct part of the solution.
We’ll ensure students, particularly those from under-resourced communities, have access to high-quality STEM teachers and after-school programming that put them on a track to a future STEM career.
It’s hard not to get excited about this next chapter in our STEM story. I’ll be updating this space in the months to come as we make progress.
Our ambition is big, but clear: We want to help refill the STEM pipeline with the best and brightest engineers and scientists, in addition to expanding STEM opportunities for underserved communities where we operate.
That’s why we’re making a big deal about National STEM Day. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our history of giving to support global STEM education and, most importantly, what we’re doing now to take it to the next level – rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves.
Now, that’s something to celebrate.