VOGA teaching kids about future careers in Virginia's Oil and Natural Gas Industry
In recent years VOGA has made it a priority to reach out to youth with information about future careers and facts about the industry.
During 2019 VOGA has been very involved in multiple educational projects for all different ages and demographics. Along with efforts in Richmond and elsewhere, education has become a key focus of VOGA. From the annual informational handbook to multiple school environmental, curriculum and career programs VOGA and it’s membership has reach thousands throughout Virginia.
As part of this education effort VOGA Public Relations Director, Beth Stockner has been an active participant in an appointed Workgroup with Virginia Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education pursuant to the requirements of the 2019 legislation HB2008 and SB1348 to establish a state-approved 17th Energy Career Cluster.
An Act to require the Department of Education to establish an energy career cluster.
Approved March 12, 2019
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. § 1. The Department of Education, in consultation with representatives from pertinent industries such as renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, and oil, shall establish as its seventeenth approved career cluster an energy career cluster. In developing the energy career cluster, the Department of Education shall base the knowledge and skill sets contained in such career cluster on the energy industry competency and credential models developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Education shall report to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than December 1, 2019, on its progress toward establishing such energy career cluster.
Other key educational projects have included numerous career exploration fairs, school Arbor Day events and most importantly the second annual Energy Bowl that takes an all-of-the-above approach, Stockner says. “It isn’t only natural gas,” she assures. “It also is coal and some nuclear, wind, solar, etc., although we do have a primary focus on fossil fuels because it is sponsored by VOGA, the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance (VCEA) and the Virginia Petroleum Council.” She notes how a typical question involves calculating how many acres it takes to produce a certain amount of energy. “That is a big eye-opener for a lot of students, because they have never been taught any of that,” she says. she says. “Right now, that effort is mainly in Southwest Virginia, however as programs such as the 4H Energy Bowl grow so can our reach.”
In 2018 the group of organizations brought the project to fruition with it’s first ever school competition. This year, Stockner says, the Energy Bowl will spread to several other natural gas producing counties. “We already have commitments from several,” she reports. “Eventually, we would like for it spread it across the entire state.”
This year the event is being held in Dickenson County and Buchanan County, two of seven southwestern Virginia counties that host the state’s oil and gas industry. Dickenson held their county finals November 8, 2019 and Buchanan County is set to to hold finals in December. Both School Districts will come together early next Spring for a regional championship.
Please contact Beth Stockner, firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on VOGA's educational programs.