Del Valle Middle School and Del Valle High School will join together Thursday for a special STEM Student Showcase to celebrate a new $75,000 grant from Marathon Petroleum Corp.
(MPC) that will support the schools’ manufacturing career pathway, which provides students with the skills they need to pursue high-demand, high-wage jobs after graduation.
The grant will be used to purchase supplies and equipment that include 3D printers and a water bath for the high school ($40,000) and soldering and electrical kits, robotics, and laptops for Del Valle Middle robotics teams ($35,000).
Ultimately, the goal is to increase enrollment and engagement in certain STEM courses and extracurricular activities, officials said. “The intent is to prepare students with basic knowledge of the newer technologies in the workplace,” said YISD Career & Technical Education (CTE) Director Fernando Marquez. “In the case of manufacturing, automation is key and computer systems rule – but this is very different from the basic tools found in shop class.”
At Del Valle Middle School, the grant will support students in learning the fundamental skills of programming, electrical, drafting, and soldering in preparation for engaging in STEM
activities at a higher level in high school.
At Del Valle High School, the new equipment will aid students in learning the 3D printing process and other relevant technologies that prepare them for a high-tech manufacturing and engineering world.
“We focus on community investments that make measurable differences in people’s lives, targeting priorities that include workforce development,” said MPC Stakeholder Engagement Manager V.J. Smith. “This grant perfectly supports our goals because it lays a foundation for building careers that otherwise might not exist for many students.” MPC operates the nation's largest refining system, including a refinery just a few miles east of downtown El Paso.
It believes in responsible citizenship and makes it a priority to offer time, talent and financial support for efforts that have a positive impact on the community. As a result, MPC has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to El Paso-area schools.