The United States is on the fast track to energy security, a reality that is literally right around the corner. Increased production from oil and natural gas reservoirs plus a rapidly growing green-energy sector is positioning the United States to be the world’s number one energy producer with at least a century worth of energy. However great this accomplishment sounds now, many fear that the existing human-infrastructure is not capable of sustaining such a course.
Energy-specific skilled labor in this country is growing old and retiring. Without enough interested young people pursuing energy specific careers to replace these retirees, the United States will eventually hit a wall. A point where creating energy supply will fall short of filling consumer demand. This will leave once again the United States dependent on foreign countries to make up the difference, a scenario today’s society is far too familiar with.
Cabot partnered with Junior Achievement, the Northern Tier Industrial Education Consortium (NTIEC) and Chesapeake Energy to bring Careers in Energy to Susquehanna County. The 9th grad class from Montrose High School joined 9th graders from Elk Lake High School for a condensed, one day version of the program. Experts from various energy industries were given a classroom and students rotated throughout the day. Each expert discussed both personal backgrounds and professional duties while covering the basics about their particular energy source. By the day’s end each student received a crash course on Conventional Energy (Oil and coal), Nuclear power, Green Energies, Natural Gas and distribution utilities.
To bring everything together throughout the day and to promote student participation, a scholastic competition was held between both schools. The prize for the winning school was a pizza party sponsored by Cabot. To make the competition fair, five students from each school were chosen randomly. All of the questions were derived from the Careers in Energy curriculum and material learned throughout the day. Questions were designed to highlight the main purpose of the day, that is: “Exciting careers and great paying jobs are available be in the energy industry.”
In the end Elk Lake High School just barely bested Montrose with a score of 16 to 15.
For those students who did not get to compete during the scholastic competition, a second competition was announced. Students were asked to submit an essay answering these three questions:
- Why is a diverse energy portfolio important to the United States?
- What domestic energy sources, if any, do you see impacting this energy portfolio in the near future?
- Do you see yourself working in an energy field?
- If so, which one and why? What education will you need?
- If not, what career do you see yourself in? How will the availability of energy and the cost of energy affect this career path?
The winner of this essay competition will receive an Ipad and a number of select finalists will receive $25 iTunes gift cards.