Braskem USA, located on Technology Drive off 2nd Avenue (by Hot Metal Bridge), works with Bridge Educational Foundation. Bridge is a non-profit that works to increase EITC/OSTC funds through the State and to match contributions of companies to schools that can benefit from this funding. Braskem and Oakland Catholic are both committed to developing future female leaders in STEM, so it turned out to be a good match. Braskem has committed to contributing to our financial assistance program next school year to the tune of $30,000. (in case you are unfamiliar with this acronym, EITC/OSTC funds donated by companies specifically for financial aid to students attending a private school; companies receive a portion of the donation as a credit against their state taxes. For the sake of reference, Oakland Catholic will award approximately $1million dollars+ in financial aid next year.) Braskem wanted to do more than just donate money though, so we arranged a career exploration experience for 17 of our students, and we plan to repeat the experience in the future by connecting them to the School Counseling Office.
The 17 students in attendance, mostly 10th and 11th graders. They impressed all present with their poise, articulate questions and conversations, and overall attentiveness and maturity. There were legislators present, Braskem representatives who spoke to them, conducted the tours, and conversed with them during a lunch, and Bridge Educational Foundation members who facilitated the field trip. Braskem is a biopolymer plastics company that started in Brazil where its largest plant is located, has U.S. headquarters and a factory in Philadelphia, as well as factories in West Virginia and Texas. The Pittsburgh facility is predominantly a research facility that develops prototypes of numerous products and ideas. Career opportunities run in chemistry, engineering, international affairs, IT, human relations, business, and a host of other industries.
It was a great trip on many levels. Below are the OC Students who participated in case you want to ask them about the trip or follow up with them at all. As I mentioned above, we hope to develop a closer relationship between Braskem and OC as part of our ongoing Strategic Plan with regard to STEM, career exploration/exposure, and securing funding for financial assistance.