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Growing STEM Talent, Developing STEM Teachers

In an effort to strengthen the future of the energy sector, ExxonMobil supports organizations that work to increase the number of well-qualified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers. The company also supports increased access to high-quality, STEM education for high school students.

Preparing Students for Success

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Education is a fundamental building block for individual opportunity and economic growth. STEM skills are critical to ensuring today’s students are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.


higher than non-STEM occupations

The Challenge

Energy is a high-tech industry, which means math and science are at the core of everything ExxonMobil does. As a company employing more than 70,000 employees – including nearly 20,000 scientists and engineers – ExxonMobil’s future depends on a diverse, highly skilled STEM workforce. These scientists and engineers, and their innovative ideas, help the company address the world’s energy challenges.

In the past decade, employment in STEM occupations has been 20% higher than in non-STEM occupations, and that trend is projected to continue. However, teachers need additional training to prepare students for tomorrow’s STEM jobs.

The Solution

ExxonMobil supports organizations that provide student access to high-quality, rigorous programs and teachers with content expertise in STEM, like the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) College Readiness Program. The company provides funding for programs that demonstrate real improvements in educational outcomes and emphasize STEM programming through key strategic initiatives, ensuring more women and diverse learners enter the field.

Like nearly every business, ExxonMobil depends on a skilled workforce to thrive.

America’s future growth – and innovations to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – hinges on today’s students excelling in tomorrow’s workforce. As an energy company that relies upon technology, they know firsthand the value in having a workforce proficient in STEM.

The STEM Challenge

Globally, U.S. students ranked 35th in math and 18th in science (as well as 15th in reading) in the most recent Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test. Though student proficiency is beginning to increase in science and reading, the U.S. has a long way to go before students have the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in tomorrow’s jobs.

There are millions of jobs being created in the U.S. that require STEM skills. STEM occupations are projected to grow by almost 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, compared to 6.5 percent growth for non- STEM occupations. And, a STEM degree holder can expect an earnings premium of 12 percent over non-STEM degree holders.

The need for STEM teachers is apparent in the limited number of science courses being offered in some high schools. According to a 2018 report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, just 60 percent of public high schools offered physics courses, and only 54 percent of U.S. high school students were enrolled in biology, chemistry, and/or physics.

ExxonMobil understands the importance of STEM education and the role of teachers in preparing tomorrow’s employees.

In 2007, ExxonMobil was a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), an organization focused on preparing K-12 students and teachers for rigorous coursework and STEM careers. NMSI’s College Readiness Program ensures more students have access to the challenging classes that will prepare them for future success.

By supporting students, teachers, and the school, the three-year program dramatically increased the number of students taking and earning qualifying scores on Advanced Placement math, science, and English exams. It also has a proven track record of improving results for traditionally underserved and female students. In addition, AP students who score a 3 or higher on AP exams are more likely to earn a college degree on time, which can save students and families both time and money.

In partnership with the UTeach Institute at the University of Texas, NMSI is also working to develop the next generation of highly qualified STEM teachers. This innovative program encourages undergraduate math and science majors to become STEM teachers, thereby helping address the well-known shortage in this field.

Partnerships Are Key

ExxonMobil works with education organizations with a demonstrated legacy of success serving their local communities.

In addition to the UTeach Institute, ExxonMobil’s support for teachers includes partnerships with Teach for America and Teach for All. These partnerships are focused on encouraging aspiring STEM teachers, with a reliance on data and continuous improvement not seen in traditional teacher preparation programs.

In partnership with 100Kin10 and the Data Quality Campaign, the ExxonMobil team draws on its history with teacher professional development, building practical knowledge about measuring outcomes from science-focused professional development.

Complementing that interest in teachers, they invest in programs that help students successfully prepare and transition to college. The partnership with NMSI is focused on expanding access to AP offerings to more students, including diverse learners, students with ties to the military, and young women.

A University of Alaska-based program – the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) – also produces strong results in encouraging native Alaskan students to pursue STEM majors and careers.

The Results

NMSI’s College Readiness Program has benefited approximately 50,000 teachers and 1.5 million students, and improved STEM achievement in more than 1,000 schools. After just one year, partner schools see the number of qualifying AP scores increase by an average of 67 percent—an increase more than 10 times the national average. Among African-American and Hispanic students, the average increase is more than six times the national average.

ANSEP’s Middle School Academy is helping drive Alaskan Native youth academic success. Of those students who participate in the ANSEP Middle School Academy, 77 percent successfully complete Algebra 1 prior to completing eighth grade, compared to 26 percent nationally.

ExxonMobil’s partnership with several nonprofit organizations to help increase the number of STEM teachers is paying dividends. For example, the UTeach program is projected to produce more than 8,400 graduates by 2023, thus building the pipeline of quality STEM teachers. In 2017-2018, more than 7,100 students majoring in math and science are being served by 44 UTeach programs across the country.

During the 2017-2018 school year, more than 2,000 Teach For America STEM corps members are impacting more than 125,000 students in 51 high-need regions across the country. Similarly, with Teach For All, of the 14,000 teachers in 48 countries, 4,000 teach STEM subjects.

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