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The Future of Oil and Natural Gas Industry is Ripe with High Paying Opportunities for Minorities

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “We expect that in this workforce of future, African Americans and Latinos will supply almost 40 percent of the workforce…” Mike Sommers, president and CEO, American Petroleum Institute

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

In a year when the American Petroleum Institute (API) marks its 100th anniversary, the oil and natural gas industry continues to look towards the workforce of the future nationally and globally that will emphasize the inclusion of African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.

API, America’s largest trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, is working diligently to encourage minorities and women to become petroleum engineers, geologists, welders, electricians, accountants, business managers and to secure other high-paying and family-sustaining jobs that have routinely gone to white males.

Under the guidance of President and CEO Mike Sommers, the Institute continues to make strides toward changing the landscape by putting in place strategic and definitive initiatives that address diversity and inclusion.

For his part, Sommers has brought two decades of political experience to API, including his role as president and CEO of the American Investment Council (AIC), an advocacy and resource organization established to develop and provide information about the private investment industry and its contributions to the long-term growth of the U.S. economy and retirement security of American workers.

Prior to joining the AIC in 2016, Sommers served as Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House John A. Boehner (R-OH) and in other capacities in House leadership for more than a decade.

A Naperville, Ill., native and graduate of the honors program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Sommers served at the center of nearly every major policy decision in the last decade.

He successfully negotiated bipartisan achievements on landmark legislation, including the Trouble Asset Relief Program in 2008, the resolution of the fiscal cliff in 2013, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 and trade promotion authority in 2015.

Sommers also served as Special Assistant to the President at the National Economic Council at the White House in 2005.

In an exclusive joint interview with the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Alliance of Hispanic Publications, Sommers detailed how the country’s natural gas and oil industry plays a central role in the U.S. economy – supporting 10.3 million jobs and keeping energy affordable for families and businesses.

Studies have revealed that the industry will realize close to 1.9 million new job opportunities by 2035, with hundreds of thousands of them projected to be filled by African American and Hispanic workers, he said.

“America’s natural gas and oil industry is committed to meeting and exceeding those projections, ensuring job opportunities reach every community – because we know a diverse workforce is essential to fostering the innovation and collaboration we need for a stronger industry, and a stronger country,” Sommers said.

The half-hour question and answer session revealed Sommers’ and API’s vision going forward.

NNPA: What are the top facts that you’d like the public to know about the natural gas and oil industry?

Sommers: The first thing the public needs to know about the oil and natural gas industry is that it supports 10.3 million jobs in this country.

The other thing is that while energy production has gone through the roof over the course of the last many years, our emissions [in America] have gone down. In fact, the United States now has the cleanest air in a generation, while worldwide emissions have gone up 50 percent.

That’s really thanks to the innovation that has occurred in this industry.

While in this country, costs continue to go up for education, health care and housing, household energy costs have gone down 10.5 percent in the last ten years and that’s truly because of the innovation and work this industry has done to make sure consumers have access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.

NNPA: What are some of the ways the industry is reducing its environmental impact?

Sommers: The environmental issue is one of the top issues we deal with on a daily basis in this country.

This industry has reduced our environmental footprint not just from the perspective of the emissions reduction… A whole generation of change has resulted in cleaner air in this country and that’s something we’re very proud of.

In addition, we’ve reduced the environmental impact in places where we actually produce this energy.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve reduced the size of well pad by almost 90 percent and that’s good for the environment, good for American production and good for the American consumer.

NNPA: Currently, the unemployment rate among African Americans is nearly twice as high as that of the white labor force, while the median income for African Americans is approximately half as much as whites.

Similar stats are true for the Hispanic community, so what can API do to change that dynamic within the oil and natural gas industry and help ensure that these communities hear about opportunities in your industry?

Sommers: This industry currently supports 10.3 million jobs but that is only going to grow as the energy revolution in this country continues to expand.

We’ve done numerous studies on this and we actually expect that much of the new labor force coming into this industry is going to be supplied by African American and Hispanic workers.

What we’re doing is working very closely with our industry partners, particularly with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute to make sure that black and Hispanic workers in the industry know what those opportunities are.

So, we’re working very closely with others in the industry as well to make sure folks understand where they can get these great paying jobs; these are middle-class sustaining jobs and jobs that will supply the workforce for the future.

NNPA: Do you have any advice for young people who are thinking about pursuing a career in STEM or the natural gas and oil industry in general?

Sommers: STEM education is key. We have a number of partner organizations in this field where they’re helping to ensure that young Hispanic and African American students have access to a STEM education.

That’s not the only place where you can have an entry point into the oil and natural gas industry. This is an industry that needs all kinds of workers; many of our companies are competing with people like Google and Facebook and folks within Silicon Valley, so STEM is important but those are not the only jobs.

We need welders, pipe fitters and we partner with unions like the North America’s Building Trades Unions to make sure there’s training for new employees in this industry, so they understand how important safety is and they get the skills they need so they’re ready for this highly-trained workforce.

We need everyone from scientists to engineers, but that they understand how important putting a hard hat on is and getting ready for this workforce.

Those are the employees this industry needs, particularly as this energy revolution continues to grow in the United States.

Sommers: Again, these are family sustaining wages. In this industry [the requirement of a college degree] is simply not true. Of course, if you want to be an engineer, scientist or geologist, that will require higher education, but we also have training programs that we built out with the Building Trade unions where you can get an 8-week certificate from the unions and you can become a welder in some of the most prolific oil and natural gas basis in this country almost immediately.

These are jobs you can get right out of high school. We are building a workforce for the future and they are paying great wages.

NNPA: What are the top policies you’re advocating to ensure affordable energy and job opportunities?

Sommers: The two key, big priorities this year are that we need Congress to work on an infrastructure bill so that we can build infrastructure to support the energy revolution that’s going on in this country.

So, infrastructure is key; the other thing we need is to make sure that we have markets for these products that are being produced with American resources. So, we need access to pipelines and make sure that the infrastructure is in place.

We also need markets for our products and that means the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement which is a key priority of this Congress and this president that has to get done as quickly as possible.

We expect that in this workforce of future, African Americans and Latinos will supply almost 40 percent of the workforce.

That’s the reason these training programs and partnerships that we’ve built over time are going to continue to be key components of our advocacy to make sure that the workforce that we supply to the American consumer is safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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