Shell Oil Company | Business Roundtable

Shell Oil Company

Bruce Culpepper


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Summary of Initiative

Strengthening the Talent Pipeline is Shell’s strategic platform for promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, with a focus on ensuring the industry’s readiness to meet the energy challenges of the future. The heart of Shell’s efforts is in the classroom — with teacher professional development, K–12 educational programs and workforce initiatives geared toward technical workers.

The Need

The National Math & Science Initiative has projected that by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require postsecondary education. Beyond this, there are numerous gaps in certain skillsets and students from diverse backgrounds pursuing STEM careers. The Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration found that while women currently constitute 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 24 percent are employed in STEM careers, with fewer than 15 percent as engineers.

The Solution

Shell has a multipronged program to address STEM skill shortages:

  • Teacher Professional Development. In partnership with leading science organizations, our program seeks to give teachers new skills and science knowledge. This helps address student science and math pro ciency gaps and increase awareness of careers in energy.
  • K–12 STEM Initiatives. Student-focused initiatives include lively STEM competitions, science-based summer camps, dual-credit high school programs geared toward technical degrees and video games such as our innovative Hydrocarbon Hunt© app.
  • Postsecondary Education. For students pursuing four-year degrees in engineering and geosciences, Shell works with universities to identify top students and provide scholarships, mentoring and internships to create a diverse pool of technical talent from which to recruit.
  • Building Technical Skills. Shell’s Date with Destiny program, now in its ninth year, is a unique forum designed to introduce women to careers in energy. So far the program has reached hundreds of female candidates near our assets in Texas, Louisiana and California.
  • Scholarships and Internships. Our scholarship and internship program is a key building block in our strategic plan to create a pipeline of talent from elementary school to high school and community college (near our assets) to placement in jobs at Shell or in our supply chain.

Partnerships and Enabling Public Policies

For our STEM education efforts, we partner with the National Science Teachers Association, the National Energy Education Development Project and the Houston Hispanic Forum. To improve demographic representation in the STEM  fields, we have partnered with Smithsonian Science Foundation to attract and retain minority science teachers across the country. Shell works with four-year universities and local community colleges to ensure access to technical education for top talent.


Each year, more than 1 million students are touched by our STEM programs, and an additional 15,000 teachers (in 3,000 schools) benefit from Shell-sponsored teacher professional development. Last year, more than 90,000 parents were engaged in college readiness programs. Our workforce development initiatives convert nearly 70 percent of scholarship recipients to full-time employees, and more than 90 percent of our  first-year interns are invited back for a second year.