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Natural gas industry: We are energizing education in West Virginia


Release from West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (September 18, 2017) – West Virginia’s natural gas industry is heavily engaged in helping students, teachers and schools – both K-12 and higher education – improve learning opportunities and educational outcomes through its support of myriad initiatives across the state, according to the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA).

“Our members and their employees live and work in communities across West Virginia and we want to do all we can to make sure our students receive the best education possible,” said Anne Blankenship, executive director of WVONGA.

Blankenship said the industry is involved in supporting elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges and universities in West Virginia. Additionally, the industry supports a variety of education-related philanthropic organizations offering cutting edge programming focused on broadening learning opportunities in STEM, leadership, and energy curriculums.

Blankenship said programming focused on educating students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is a priority for many WVONGA members. Recent initiatives include:

–       XTO Energy’s support for the WVUTeach Program, which brings together West Virginia University, nonprofit organizations, private foundations, and local schools to address the need for teachers in STEM subject areas.

–       Chevron’s sponsorship of the West Virginia Maker Network and funding for 10 schools to implement the Project Lead The Waycurriculum.

–       Southwestern Energy’s support of the Oglebay Institute to provide summer camp scholarships and their partnership with the WV Education Alliance on Makerspace at Wheeling Park High School.

–       Antero Resources, MarkWest Energy, and XTO Energy’s support for the Challenge Program in north central West Virginia.

–       Dominion Energy’s Environmental Education & Stewardship Grants, which engage students in a variety of energy and environmental programs.

–       Antero Resources and Dominion Energy’s support for students attending the Tom Dunn Energy Leadership Academy.

–       MarkWest Energy’s establishment of a postsecondary STEM scholarship program through the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley for several school districts in West Virginia.

Other examples of natural gas industry support with West Virginia schools and students include:

–       Dominion Energy and Antero Resources’ support of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, which teaches high school sophomores leadership skills.

–       Chevron and Southwestern Energy’s partnership with Junior Achievement for “Careers in Energy” at Robert Bland Middle School in Lewis County.

–       Antero Resources support of the Opportunity Councils’ YouthWorks program in Doddridge County.

–       XTO Energy’s support of the Junior Firefighter Camp for high school students across the state, facilitated by the West Virginia University Extension Fire Service in Jackson’s Mill.

Blankenship said the industry’s educational involvement isn’t limited to K-12.  Other initiatives include:

–       Southwestern Energy’s partnership with West Virginia Northern Community & Technical College on the welding program at Magnolia High School.

–       Chevron’s support of ShaleNet at Pierpont Community & Technical College and scholarships to state residents to attend training at the school.

–       Antero Resources’ sponsorship of the Appalachian Petroleum Training Center at Pierpont Community & Technical College.

–       Employees and retirees of ExxonMobil, of which XTO Energy is a natural gas subsidiary, provided more than $70,000 in contributions to West Virginia University – an annual giving tradition.

–       Dominion Energy’s establishment of an endowed scholarship at the West Virginia University School of Petroleum Engineering.

“These are just small snapshots of the involvement our members have with the education community in the state,” Blankenship said.  “The industry is very committed to doing all it can to help West Virginia youth grow and prosper.”

For additional information, contact Anne Blankenship at (304) 343-1609.

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