Devon Energy has a reputation for investing in the future workforce and bolstering education in its operating areas. Candor helped Devon leverage an existing 20-year partnership with Mark Twain Elementary in Oklahoma City and a new relationship with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to demonstrate the company’s commitment to education, changing the narrative not just for one organization, but for the oil and gas industry as a whole.
Planning & execution
Devon and the Ripken Foundation formed a partnership to install a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) center at Mark Twain and in two Kiwanis buildings adjacent to the school. This project would:
1) Inspire students from a young age to pursue STEM fields, therefore creating and educating a qualified future workforce and addressing long-term shortages
2) Potentially create a ripple effect in the oil and gas industry, with Devon leading by example and motivating other energy companies to install STEM centers at additional elementaries in the Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) district
Candor worked closely with Devon, the Ripken Foundation and other community partners to create a communications plan which outlined the Mark Twain and Kiwanis STEM center openings and promotion. This included drafting event talking points, organizing runs of show, establishing schedules, pitching to media outlets, communicating with the public, coordinating stakeholder and volunteer activities and creating video and social media content.
During a one-day campus renovation, Devon employees teamed up with The Home Depot Foundation and the Ripken Foundation to install the STEM center at Mark Twain Elementary and make major renovations to the Kiwanis building adjacent to the school. More than 40 employees participated in the event; Candor was instrumental in capturing the magic of the day and pitching the story to local and national media.
Following the success of the Mark Twain STEM center opening, Devon and the Ripken Foundation joined with the Foundation for OKCPS to call on the community to help install STEM centers at the 32 other OKCPS elementaries. Oil and gas organizations like Ascent Resources, Cheasapeake Energy and the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) immediately stepped up to the plate — in fact, OERB pledged $300,000 to fund 10 STEM centers.
Candor helped Devon build major buzz on social media; video posts received over 175,000 impressions and more than 35,000 views. Through community and public relations efforts, Candor also helped Devon inspire other organizations to pledge funds for STEM centers at other OKCPS elementaries; all 33 schools were funded by the campaign’s conclusion.
Representatives from both the oil and gas energy and the public education sector were highly visible throughout the campaign, standing together to support Oklahoma City’s kids and share the importance of STEM learning. “We know getting kids involved in STEM education early and often makes a huge difference for their success and for our workforce needs in the future,” said Foundation for OKCPS President and CEO Mary Mélon.
The campaign also garnered 58 media hits, surpassing our goal by 65.7%. National media hits were featured on the websites of Education Weekly and U.S. News & World Report.
Since the success of the Oklahoma City STEM center campaign, Candor has gone on to work with Devon and the Ripken Foundation to apply a similar model in western Oklahoma, southeastern New Mexico and southeastern Texas.