The Center for the Next Generation update from uberboomer Matt James, President

ExxonMobil got it right – and you have no idea how it pains me to say that.

This is a company that has been less than stellar in the discussion of climate change and has a checkered past on environmental issues, as Steve Coll recounts in a recent issue of The New Yorker.

But where the company got it right was starting a campaign five years ago, calling for deeper investment in science education through The National Math and Science Initiative. ExxonMobil put up $125 million to be the founding sponsor of an effort to expand and improve the teaching of science, match, technology and engineering through the United States.

The goal of the program is to provide high-quality professional development for middle school and high school math and science teachers and to recruit more of them. Since its inception, the campaign has attracted contributions from several dozen other major foundations and companies, leading to the training of more than 8,000 advanced placement and pre-advanced placement teachers around the country, according to the program’s website.

These are important advances for the country. Despite the nation’s slow economic recovery, high-tech job vacancies often go wanting…the U.S. is not producing enough qualified college graduates to keep America on the scientific cutting edge of the global economy.

Say what you will about ExxonMobil as a steward of the environment. But as the founder of a plan to improve science and math education, it is sending the right message: As a country, we need to do more to push the envelope of research, education and innovation, and America’s businesses can play a crucial role, supporting young people who will become their employees.

In an increasingly advanced economy, workers across a spectrum of industries and occupations, including skilled workers in advanced manufacturing and construction industries, must have a strong background in math and science. As a country, we’re always calling on parents, teachers, clergy and community leaders to do more to help the Next Generation gain the skills they need to become successful citizens. We rarely ask business leaders to join the team

So thanks, ExxonMobil – here’s hoping that the young people who benefit from this program lead the way toward weaning us off our heavy reliance on energy developed from oil, coal and other fossil fuels that have contributed to climate change.

Read the full article posted recently by Matt on the TCNG website. The Center for the Next Generation is a nonprofit aimed at building support for advanced energy and sustainability and America’s children and families. TCNG is a new voice to help frame the critical issues that affect the next generation.

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