Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. helps cut ribbon on Odessa school's new STEM Center

Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. helps christen new STEM lab at Odessa school

Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. helped cut the ribbon today on a new STEM Center (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at Pease Elementary School in Odessa, according to the Ector County ISD.

It’s part of a $7.5 million partnership between the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and the Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP) that will provide all elementary schools in the Permian Basin with access to a STEM Center by the end of 2024. The partnership involves installing 134 STEM Centers at schools across the Permian Basin, including 50 in 2022, to reach over 60,000 students and 200 teachers in 22 counties.

The new center at Pease features state-of-the-art STEM educational products, technology, furniture and more for local students, the school district said.

The staff at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation will train teachers to deliver a STEM program with custom-designed STEM lessons and educational STEM products, per the partnership with PSP. The training includes a lesson guidebook, educational products and technology to enhance STEM Center tools.

Ripken, Jr. said PSP is “one of our great partners and is passionate about STEM and bringing these important centers to the students of the Permian Basin.”

“Being exposed to STEM at a young age provides them with opportunities they may not otherwise discover.”

“Being exposed to STEM at a young age provides them with opportunities they may not otherwise discover,” he said. “The work in this space with PSP is critically important and continues to grow.”

Tracee Bentley, President and CEO of PSP, said the investment in education is an “investment in our future workforce.”

“We hope this new center will inspire students to explore STEM concepts and fields and continue to develop vital critical thinking skills,”  Bentley said. “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and the positive impact these centers will have on our community.”

The PSP is a first-of-its-kind collaboration of 19 energy companies operating in the Permian Basin. The coalition is working with leaders of the region’s communities to address current and future challenges “to the responsible development of the vast oil and natural gas resources of the Permian Basin in the states of New Mexico and Texas.”

In 2021, PSP reports providing just over $34 million in education investments benefiting over 100,000 students; $41 million in healthcare investment to improve access to the region’s two million residents; and $14.7 million to train the region’s workforce of about 800,000.

Initiatives last year included a COVID-19 vaccine media campaign; a $1.9 million STEM training initiative at the University of Texas Permian Basin; more than $6 million in infrastructure projects; 158 emergency equipment kits to first responders in 22 counties; and $100,000 to fund a new fire department and training facility to help the Northeast Midland Volunteer Fire Department.

Since its founding in 2019, the PSP reportedly turned $93 million in philanthropic investment by its members into $950 million in community support, according to PSP’s annual report for 2021.

PSP consists of Apache, BPX Energy, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Coterra Energy, Devon, Diamondback Energy, Endeavor Energy Resources, EOG Resources, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Kinetik, Occidental, Ovintiv, Permian Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources, Plains All American, Schlumberger, and WaterBridge.