Our View

Monday, Feb 20 2012 11:02 PM

OUR VIEW: Industry is helping to fill the US training gap

By The Bakersfield Californian

We often think of government and public money when we hear about workforce preparation and economic development programs. But it's important to recognize the strong role industry and corporations also play, as evidenced by Chevron and its recent $1.5 million contribution to local math and science education programs.

Chevron's generous donation will benefit Cal State Bakersfield, Bakersfield College and Taft College, as well as five high schools and four junior highs. About $160,000 will support mini-grants for teachers through the DonorsChoose.org website. The programs receiving support have a strong emphasis in the STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math, including $90,000 to help develop an Engineering Sciences program at CSUB.

These programs help put Kern students on the path toward degrees and jobs in the sciences. Chevron and other oil industry companies know well the gap in math and science majors in the U.S. and the resulting scarcity of trained workers. Engineers and geologists are in high demand at these companies, and many must be hired from outside the country.

Chevron apparently hopes local students who benefit from their donation will one day work for the company's local operations. We hope so, too. Kudos to Chevron for its investment in Kern's future.

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