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Hart Energy: Working Toward a More Diverse and Inclusive Natural Gas and Oil Industry

by Amanda Eversole

For the U.S. natural gas and oil industry, the challenge of meeting global demand for energy while building a lower-carbon future is fundamental. One key to achieving this important goal is continued investment in an increasingly diverse, resilient and well-trained workforce whose unique life experiences, hard work and ingenuity will strengthen our day-to-day operations toward a cleaner world.

This industry supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs, employing a highly skilled segment of the workforce—and paying employees steady wages that often eclipse six figures. We are proud of our contributions to America’s economic recovery and long-term growth, and we are committed to attracting and retaining the next cohort of engineers, scientists and skilled laborers who will drive American energy leadership. Most importantly, we are working to ensure that future generations of energy workers reflect the makeup of the country we all call home.

Based on analysis of U.S. employment trends, nearly 50% of job opportunities through 2040 are projected to be filled by individuals who identify as African American, Hispanic, Asian or non-white. Understanding the industry’s evolving nature of work, the API and its members are recruiting and hiring to strengthen its commitment to a diverse workforce by proactively focusing on communities of color, women and veterans.

API recognizes that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) make us stronger, and its organization-wide principles go beyond rhetoric to commit members to hiring, training and developing a highly skilled and diverse workforce.

API also recognizes that connecting with people at an early age is essential to showing them career opportunities where they can change the world. Working alongside allied industry associations and Discovery Education, API launched the STEM Careers Coalition to enhance STEM curriculum in K-12 U.S. schools and extend the benefits of the U.S. energy workforce to the next generation.

Given that educational opportunities are critical to successful employment, API has established complementary programs with post-secondary institutions. Through API’s Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Initiative, students at participating historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and other minority-serving institutions receive free access to API’s world-class standards that support safety and sustainability in industry operations. API also provides opportunities for internships for students from its MSI partners, allowing the application of academic skills in a real-world environment. As a result, API is equipping students with practical knowledge that will be immediately helpful to advancing their careers. API is working to expand this program with more institutions nationwide.

Simultaneously, API member companies are committed to fostering DEI across every step of the vast natural gas and oil supply chain, seeking out innovative business owners and investing in development strategies to engage new suppliers across a wide range of communities and talents.

Together, API members are driving broader industrywide solutions through new partnerships, best-practice sharing and bringing successful pilot programs to scale. As an industry of problem solvers working to tackle the world’s greatest energy challenges, we value individual perspectives from all backgrounds. We are committed to recruiting a resilient workforce that reflects the communities we serve and delivering a better energy future.

Read the full column here.