Here in Kern County there are many jobs in the oil and gas industry available. A way to keep those jobs filled is by getting students involved in STEM education early on. Oil and gas make up everyday items like shoes, sunglasses and even cell phones. Workers are needed to make all those items; and today fifth graders got a hands-on look at jobs available in the oil and gas industry.
“STEM education is really important, there are a lot of career opportunities and certainly here in the oil industry as well as ag which is really big here in the kern county area there are a lot of stem based jobs,” Cindy Pollard, the director of public affairs for AERA Energy. For the first time 150 fifth graders from Ramon Garza Elementary visited AERA Academy to get a hands-on learning experience about jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics field, specifically in oil and gas production.
Ramon Garza Elementary fifth grade teacher, Michelle Coleman, said this field trip was better than in the classroom education. “Just being able to get out of the classroom for a day is fun, kids love field trips so being able to come here just makes it come alive a little bit more for the students,” said Coleman.
Different booths were set up around the academy where students learned many different lessons from AERA employees such as the safety precautions taken by employees of AERA while out in the field and the different products made from oil. “Take a look around many of them are wearing tennis shoes and they probably had no idea that oil helped make that tennis shoe possible,” said Pollard.
Students were even playing with props to understand how to drill for oil by using cupcakes filled with chocolate chips. “They see the pumping units out there and they see the workers, they don’t actually know what they are doing and that this is a big part of Kern County,” said Coleman. “We can actually help the schools grow stem education and students may go away to college but if we can get them to come back home and put their stem education to work that helps us to build a much stronger economy here in Bakersfield,” said Pollard.
Organizers say they hope the fifth graders got excited about potential career options today after learning about all the different jobs available in the oil and gas industry from AERA employees.