HOUSTON, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- To increase access to educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) that will open doors to rewarding careers, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is launching a new social responsibility program, the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, for students enrolled in elementary school through post-secondary education - and beyond. CITGO is kicking off the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline with a series of grants for schools and educational organizations near its operational areas including Houston (where its corporate headquarters is located) and its three refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lake Charles, La., and Lemont, Ill. The company is also providing scholarships for students pursuing higher degrees in STEM fields. CITGO plans to utilize the experience of its own employees through mentoring efforts, as well. "Around the country and in our own industry, we are experiencing a shortage of professionals with the technical skills necessary for our workforce to succeed. The CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program seeks to address this challenge by providing students with the resources they need to excel in science, technology, engineering and math-related careers," said CITGO President and CEO Nelson Martinez. "CITGO has long been committed to enhancing STEM-related opportunities for students through college scholarships and support for science fairs, robotic clubs, field trips, mentorships and other hands-on experiences. Now, with the creation of our STEM Talent Pipeline, we are able to unify and formalize this dedication to education and workforce development." To further the mission of the program, CITGO is working with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project to provide workshops for local educators near all three CITGO refineries. The NEED Project, which began on National Energy Education Day 35 years ago, trains teachers on how to provide comprehensive lessons on energy in the classroom with its portfolio of over 130 teacher and student guides.