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Washington Informer: Minority Serving Institutions Initiative Developing in Oil and Natural Gas Industry

by Stacy M. Brown

With individuals of color expected to fill about 54 percent of the projected 1.9 million job opportunities in the natural gas, oil, and petrochemical industry over the next two decades, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has added more historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) along with Minority Serving Institutions to its Minority Serving Institutions Initiative (MSI).

Grambling, Southern, Prairie View A&M, Fort Valley State, and New Mexico State University are among the universities that API will provide free access to a library of world-class standards for oil and gas equipment, processes, and systems.

This access will allow the schools to introduce their students to practical knowledge and industry standards, and the tools will apply to their future careers.

“API is proud to make our standards catalog available to educate and prepare our nation’s future energy workforce,” said Debra Phillips, senior vice president of API’s Global Industry Services.

“A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is an essential part of our industry’s future success and API is honored to play a small part in supporting progress toward these students’ bright futures.” 

Reportedly, the mission of the MSI Initiative is to develop and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the natural gas and oil industry by providing API’s 700+ standards catalog to students at HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions.

API standards are widely used by the natural gas and oil industry globally to ensure health, safety, and environmental protection and advance sustainability.  

Therefore, students will benefit significantly by increasing their familiarity and understanding of the standards themselves and the development process.

The MSI Initiative reflects the commitment by API and the industry to help people of color thrive in professional careers, officials noted.

Officials stated that partnering with these highly regarded institutions fosters the oil and natural gas industry’s drive toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.

API is continuing to partner with additional HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions as they grow the MSI Initiative.

Access to these standards will enhance the students’ overall educational experience, making them more knowledgeable and competitive in the job market. 

In addition to standards catalog access, API’s Global Industry Services division is offering internships to students at participating schools. Applications are currently being accepted for the internships. 

API has operated as the global leader in establishing and maintaining standards for the natural gas and oil industry since 1924.

API standards help enhance operational safety, environmental protection, and sustainability while ensuring that industry knowledge is accurately transferred amongst engineers and across organizations. 

These standards and recommended practices are also relied upon by regulators worldwide, with more than 600 references in U.S. federal regulations, 3,800 citations in U.S. state regulations, and over 789 references by international regulators. 

If you would like to learn more about the initiative or have a connection with a qualified institution, contact API’s Scott Garten at [email protected] or go to

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