United States education initiatives

Education is the fundamental building block of individual opportunity and economic growth, and STEM skills, in particular, are critical. We have focused our U.S. education programs to help address the STEM challenge and are investing in those with the potential to make a meaningful national impact.

Article Aug. 30, 2018

In this article

United States education initiatives

We focus on: increasing the number of teachers who are equipped to teach math and science; advocating for higher standards and rigorous assessments; and graduating more students from high school ready for success in college and careers.

National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI)

ExxonMobil became a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in 2007 with a $125 million commitment to the nonprofit organization. NMSI provides scalable and rigorous program solutions that empower school communities to prepare all students to succeed in college and the workforce. Since that time, we’ve made another $60 million commitment to NMSI.

To better prepare students and teachers for the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), NMSI replicates proven programs with quantifiable results — such as its College Readiness Program, Laying the Foundation and UTeach™ — on a national scale.

College Readiness Program

Proficiency in math and science is crucial to our country’s capacity for innovation and future economic growth, yet a growing number of today’s students lack foundational knowledge and skills in these subjects. NMSI is addressing this critical gap through nationwide expansion of its College Readiness Program, a comprehensive three-year program designed to increase student participation and performance in rigorous Advanced Placement® coursework in math, science and English.

The program’s key elements of success include shared accountability and goal setting with partner schools, intensive teacher training and support from expert mentors, more time on task for students through tutoring and study sessions, open enrollment to broaden student participation and achievement-based awards for teachers and students.

Chart showing first-year increase in math and science AP test scores.

NMSI's College Readiness Program is producing immediate, significant and sustained impact on student achievement and college and career readiness in schools across the country. On average, schools in their first year of implementing the program have demonstrated a:

  • 64 percent increase in the number of qualifying scores on AP math, science and English exams compared to a 5.6 percent increase nationally
  • 61 percent increase in the number of qualifying scores on AP math, science and English exams by female students, compared to 4.6 percent nationally
  • 71 percent increase in the number of qualifying scores on AP math, science and English exams by minority students, compared to 7.4 percent nationally

Based on College Board data, the three-year increase in qualifying math and science exam scores among NMSI partner schools is 114 percent — an increase of more than seven times the national average. Among African-American and Hispanic students, the increase in qualifying scores is more than four times the national average, and for female students, seven times the national average. The program has expanded to reach students in more than 1,200 schools across 34 states and the District of Columbia.

Students in Fort Worth, Texas at NMSI’s College Readiness Program.
Students in Fort Worth, Texas, participating in NMSI’s College Readiness Program.

Laying the Foundation

NMSI's Laying the Foundation program provides educators of students in grades 3-12 with hands-on training, strategies and resources to raise academic rigor and prepare students to think critically and creatively at advanced levels. The training focuses on improving math, science and English instruction with an emphasis on research-based teaching strategies and best practices.

Developed by experienced teachers and content experts, the program provides comprehensive, hands-on training led by a national corps of expert classroom teachers; classroom-ready materials and resources aligned with state standards; and instructional best practices for increasing academic rigor and building college and career readiness.

UTeach Institute

The UTeach Institute is working to solve the need for more math and science teachers. These teachers will impact the success and future of our students and the ability of our country to remain competitive.

In response to the need for more math and science teachers, the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and UTeach Institute began replicating a highly successful teacher training program, UTeach, in 2008. The program, which recruits and trains math and science majors for careers in teaching, is transforming the way universities prepare teachers for the 21st century.

UTeach offers a compact degree plan that allows students to graduate in four years with a degree in their core subject as well as a teaching certificate. Early and intensive field teaching experience begins in students’ first semesters and is supplemented by mentoring and guidance from highly experienced master teachers, faculty and public school teachers.

In 2017-2018, over 7,100 math and science majors students have been served by 44 UTeach programs across the country. The UTeach Institute projects that more than 8,400 graduates will be produced by 2023 and that these teachers will reach nearly 5 million students.

The results speak for themselves: Approximately 90 percent of UTeach graduates go directly into teaching, with a retention rate of 80 percent after five years of teaching (compared to less than 65 percent nationally). The program has received national recognition from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and was featured as a “best practice” program by Change the Equation, a national clearinghouse for excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Teacher Pathways

While today’s teachers need and deserve consistent support and training, additional teachers are needed in communities across the country, particularly in STEM courses. Through the UTeach Expansion program and other efforts, NMSI is helping to fill the pipeline of new STEM teachers who have the subject-matter expertise and grade-level teaching skills needed to equip all students for success. This work is happening at the local and regional level to ensure that teacher development programs are producing the educators needed in their communities.

Other math and science programs

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, in partnership with ExxonMobil, identifies, nurtures and prepares future Latino leaders in STEM. The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards recognize achievements in math and engineering, while Latinos on the Fast Track, or LOFT, provides mentoring and guidance to promising Hispanic STEM students.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

ExxonMobil provides college scholarships to Hispanic students who plan to pursue engineering degrees through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, an organization working to break the cycle of under­education among Hispanic students in the United States.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering

ExxonMobil annually hosts “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” events at company sites across the country with activities designed to encourage students to pursue careers in engineering. The program seeks to promote curiosity among middle school students, and particularly help shrink the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and related fields. For more than a decade, hundreds of company employees have helped demonstrate to more than 12,000 students that engineering careers are not only exciting, rewarding and diverse, but also offer the power to make a difference in society.

Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement (JA) is dedicated to providing young people with the knowledge they need for economic success and smart economic and academic choices. Thousands of ExxonMobil employees volunteer with JA chapters in the United States and internationally. We contribute to JA initiatives worldwide, and several ExxonMobil employees serve on local and regional JA boards of directors.

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)

NACME has the goal of leading the effort to increase the representation of minority men and women in engineering and related careers. Block grants for scholarships are awarded to universities that have a track record and a focus of increasing the number of minority engineering graduates.

Science Ambassador Program

ExxonMobil employees participate in an in-class volunteer program focused on education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) targeted at middle school students. Volunteers visit local area classrooms to share their passion for STEM with students and inspire the next generation of innovators.


SECME, Inc. is a strategic alliance that partners schools, universities, industry and government to renew and strengthen the professional capacity of K-12 educators; motivate and mentor students; and,empower parents and communities to prepare minority youth for careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. ExxonMobil’s support of SECME directly aids several initiatives including the Summer Institute for Teachers.

Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers

The Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers is committed to enhancing America’s position in STEM by building a strong and talented workforce. ExxonMobil sponsors activities and events that reach young Latinos and encourage them toward STEM careers.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

ExxonMobil’s contribution to Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is used to support outreach programs to attract young women to engineering. As a longstanding partner of SWE, ExxonMobil supports Invent It. Build It. — a hands-on engineering program for middle school girls, specifically Girl Scouts. Held annually during SWE’s national conference, the program introduces girls to the benefits of STEM careers through interactive challenges coordinated by PBS’ Design Squad Nation, engaging presentations from industry leaders and a parallel initiative for parents and educators.

University of Alaska’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP)

ExxonMobil supports the University of Alaska’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP), which works with students starting in middle school to increase university recruitment and retention rates in engineering.

Women in Science and Engineering

Spelman College and ExxonMobil collaborated to create the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program that targets high-achieving African American women pursuing degrees in the physical sciences and provides mentoring and support. These young women eventually graduate with a degree from a joint engineering program at Georgia Tech and Spelman.

Related content

Nurturing STEM talent in the Permian Basin

Nurturing STEM talent in the Permian Basin

Students making their way through high school and beyond can often find unexpected pathways by discovering a passion for a new subject. In the Permian Basin, the center of North America’s energy renaissance, students are improving their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills through new educational program opportunities.

STEM education Energy Factor Sept. 29, 2020

Eight things you might not know about geology

Eight things you might not know about geology

Geology rocks. It’s a key part of everyday life and provides a window into Earth’s history. Think back to some of the world’s wonders. The Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge, the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest or the Great Barrier Reef. These beauties wouldn’t be possible without all kinds of rocks and mineral formations.

STEM education Energy Factor Jan. 7, 2020

Bioscientist Jackie Heinricher

Racing for change, on and off the track

Bioscientist Jackie Heinricher was drawn to racing as a way to shut out the world and refocus her mind during the pressure-packed days of building her biotech company.

STEM education Energy Factor April 23, 2019

Margaret Wu

Margaret Wu: Breaking barriers

For me, overcoming professional barriers is all in a day’s – or life’s – work. I began my career in 1976 as the first woman with advanced degrees to work at ExxonMobil’s renowned research lab in Edison, New Jersey.

STEM education Energy Factor April 5, 2019

National Engineers Week: Embracing the future

National Engineers Week: Embracing the future

Engineers are behind many of ExxonMobil’s breakthroughs and innovations, but what exactly do engineers do? The short answer is a lot!

STEM education Energy Factor Feb. 20, 2019

A female teacher teaching three young girls

Our partners in supporting education worldwide

Teachers are critical to the success of our students and future workforce, which is why ExxonMobil supports organizations that work directly with educators. Partners like the UTeach Institute, National Math and Science Initiative and Teach for America ensure that classroom teachers are well-prepared and able to help students develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and future careers.

STEM education Article Oct. 31, 2018