In response to this industry need, the LAGCOE Future Energy Professionals Program (FEP) was established to support and encourage students to pursue the technical positions which fuel our world. The Future Energy Professionals Program includes projects to support middle, secondary, and higher education Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum.
"FEP is an exceptional program designed to intrigue the young minds of our great community and encourage them to pursue a career that directly gives back to the Acadiana area,” said Natalie Guillot, Systems Consultant at SYCON International and LAGCOE Future Energy Professionals Program Co-Chair.
The initial project introduced the industry to 100 high school students interested in STEM majors through an organized tour of the LAGCOE 2013 exposition. Junior and senior high school students from various Lafayette Parish schools learned the ins and outs of the energy industry while touring LAGCOE 2013 with a Young Professionals of LAGCOE (YPL) volunteer and a UL Engineering Ambassador. The tours gave these students unprecedented access to a hands-on experience with the technology and mechanics of the oil and gas industry.
"The Young Professionals of LAGCOE take the time to introduce hand-selected high school juniors and seniors to multiple facets of the industry, ensuring these students that it takes a multitude of talents to make the oil and gas industry successful,” said Guillot.
This October, YPL plans to continue the LAGCOE FEP tours during LAGCOE 2015, with a hefty expansion. There will be both a morning and an afternoon session with up to 100 students per session. The pool of applicants will also grow this year to include high school junior or senior students from the following parishes: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, or Vermilion Parishes.
With the addition of a second tour session to accommodate more students, comes a need for more volunteers. YPL plans to expand the pool of college student volunteers to additional Louisiana universities so the program involves the state of Louisiana as a whole and includes both two and four-year degree program students.
"The Future Energy Professionals Program was designed to grow an interest in STEM education and energy industry careers in order to continue to build a strong pipeline of future workforce, leaders and innovators for the energy industry,” said Angela Cring, LAGCOE Executive Director. "We are thrilled to be able to expand our outreach by increasing the number of students eligible to participate in the guided tours of LAGCOE. We hope this program leads to these students choosing to further their education and make a career in the energy industry.”
Students who participated in the 2013 LAGCOE FEP tours were eligible to apply for the LAGCOE Future Energy Professionals Scholarship: an award to goal-oriented students planning to enroll in a Louisiana College in pursuit of a STEM-centric Degree. The inaugural winners, Emily Duplechain and David LaCour, were awarded $10,000 each in June 2014. LAGCOE plans to continue this scholarship program in 2016 based on Future Energy Professionals tour participants.