Energy is the storyline for STEM outreach in Houston

E&E Energywire takes a look at Consumer Energy Alliance’s Energy Day Festival-

City officials this weekend hosted the third annual Energy Day, an official city event that was organized primarily by the Consumer Energy Alliance and the University of Houston, with assistance from oil and gas companies and their trade organizations and renewable energy trade organizations, among other collaborators.

Organizers are hopeful that they will soon begin to see an impact from an event that aims to secure a skilled workforce that will be essential to helping energy industries grow and thrive.

Organizers this year took pains to reach out to parents and teachers in a push to get as many children as possible from all grade levels to attend. About 20,000 people were expected to attend.

Exhibitors were instructed to make their displays and demonstrations scientific, as well as accessible and age-appropriate, with the hosts hopeful that participating companies and institutions would find clever ways to create a lasting impression on young attendees.

David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, said the event is aiming to nudge Houston-area students toward science technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Oil and gas firms, utilities and renewable energy companies all complain of a shortage of competent STEM-trained professionals in the United States, and industries see the problem becoming worse in the future.

Holt said this weekend’s Energy Day was about demonstrating as clearly as possible to youths how the science and engineering behind energy matter to the real world.

“It’s kind of a hands-on demonstration of what energy means to them in their daily life,” Holt said in an interview. “We encourage all our exhibitors and demonstrations to be very tactile, to give the kids something they can climb on and touch and feel.”

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