As part of the Oklahoma oil and natural gas industry’s commitment to equipping students for future success, Midship Pipeline recently awarded a total of $160,000 to eight schools across western Oklahoma. The money is being utilized for STEM-related materials and equipment, which will empower trade schools to grow their pre-engineering and CAD programs.
Each of the selected institutions are located in one of the eight counties along Midship Pipeline’s new 200-mile pipeline route including Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, Garvin, Stephens, Carter, Johnston and Bryan counties. The grants were evenly distributed, with $20,000 given to a school in each county.
“Midship Pipeline’s STEM investment demonstrates their commitment to Western Oklahoma,” said Senator Frank Simpson, District 14.
“We are grateful for their support of education in Oklahoma and thank Midship Pipeline for their generosity that will benefit many Oklahomans.”
The Midship Pipeline Project is a natural gas pipeline connecting new gas production from the emerging SCOOP and STACK plays in the Anadarko Basin to growing Gulf Coast and Southeast markets via deliveries to existing pipelines. The company worked closely with each school to develop the STEM community grant program and was able to tailor gifts to each school’s needs.
Oklahoma schools receiving grants from Midship Pipeline include Canadian Valley Tech in Yukon, The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, Chisholm Train Technology Center in Omega, Mid-American Technology Center in Wayne, Red River Technology Center in Duncan, Southern Tech in Ardmore, Kiamichi Technology Center in Durant and Murray State College in Tishomingo.
Julia Cook, a pre-engineering instructor at Canadian Valley Technology Center, looks forward to what the investment means for students.
“It will enable us to buy a wind tunnel, which allows students to take different measurements on air foil shapes,” said Cook. “We’ll also be able to purchase a CNC foam cutter for constructing student-designed gliders.”
Students are eager to move beyond theory to application, which is precisely what the STEM grants are designed to make possible.
“It really helps to personally experience how these processes and machines work, which isn’t possible simply by looking at pictures or learning on a computer,” said Steelon Beene, who studies Computer Aided Design (CAD) at Southern Tech.
A portion of the funds awarded to Southern Tech are being used to purchase a new 3D printer. CAD instructor Anthony Ballew believes the hands-on experience will help students far beyond the classroom.
“The use of 3D printing is exploding right now. Having proficiency with this growing technology will give our students an edge over other candidates as more and more companies begin using these printers.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2015 there were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs in the United States. The national average wage for workers in STEM occupations was nearly double the average wage for non-STEM occupations. Petroleum engineer was the highest paid STEM occupation, with an annual mean wage of $149,590, over $100,000 higher than the national average across all occupations.
The decision to award these grants to Oklahoma schools is part of a larger commitment by Midship Pipeline to invest in the communities where they live and operate.
“For us, it’s important to know our neighbors and dedicate our resources toward programs that help build a strong workforce, which in turn makes Oklahoma stronger and better,” said Laura Ferrell, who works in government and public affairs for Midship.
Gayla Lutts serves as Superintendent of Canadian Valley Technology Center. She spoke of her gratitude for the sizeable donation and her confidence in what it will help them achieve.
“We’re able to expand our pre-engineering lab, which will grow our students’ academic foundation,” noted Lutts.
“Through hands-on, real-world projects, the lab will generate student excitement for fields in STEM.”
Investments like those being made by Midship Pipeline go well beyond educational training. They exemplify a lasting commitment to fellow Oklahomans.
“They’ve helped fund our volunteer fire departments, 4-H youth events and now these educational grants,” said Simpson, “These significant financial investments demonstrate their dedication to the people of Carter County.”
At a time when education is at the forefront of discussions in Oklahoma, the oil and natural gas industry is ensuring our future leaders have access to the tools and skillsets needed to be successful.
“Technology is advancing every day, with more jobs depending on it,” said Eimy Almaguer, a pre-engineering student at Southern Tech.
“With this new equipment, we’re learning a lot about problem solving and will be better prepared for the businesses we enter.”
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