WHITE PLAINS — Fifteen high school students from underserved communities in New York City, the Mohawk Valley and Western New York have begun six-week internships with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to learn professional skills that will help them land competitive jobs in the state’s growing clean energy workforce or other careers after graduation.
The internship will expose students to actual projects being undertaken by NYPA that will benefit their communities and help them learn about careers available at NYPA. Weekly sessions also will focus on developing time management, goal setting, resume writing and professional skills. NYPA speakers will talk about their career paths, give a virtual tour of NYPA’s Integrated Smart Operations Center, and share information about NYPA’s employee climate science training program.
Area students from Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) P-TECH in association with Mohawk Valley Community College will research NYPA’s vehicle fleet and make a plan for full electrification and needed charging infrastructure.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion is a foundational pillar of NYPA’s VISION2030 strategic plan for a thriving, resilient New York State powered by clean energy,” said NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel.
“It is precisely programs like our new P-TECH internship initiative that will help us become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive public utility of the future that serves and benefits all New Yorkers. We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to deserving young people who, I am confident, will become future energy leaders and help drive our clean energy economy forward,” he added.
The inaugural program, which is primarily virtual due to COVID-19 protections, will run through Aug. 5, when students will make presentations on their final projects and experience to NYPA executives. Similar opportunities will be offered through P-TECH over the next five years as NYPA expects to place a total of 100 interns throughout the course of this program.
The P-TECH program combines coursework with real-life workplace experiences that help high school students who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields obtain both a high school diploma and a two-year associates degree at no cost from a nearby college.
“The New York Power Authority is delivering on its diversity, equity and inclusion promises and we are committed to achieving a cleaner, more prosperous energy future, especially for those in our communities who are underserved,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and CEO. “Inspiring the success of a hard-working diverse group of talented students who want to pursue careers in the energy field will help increase the pipeline of utility and clean energy workers and advance New York State’s overall climate leadership goals.”
“NYPA aims to level the playing field by providing STEM career awareness and preparation to historically disadvantaged and marginalized students who otherwise might not attend college,” said Lisa Payne Wansley, NYPA’s vice president of Environmental Justice. “This P-TECH and NYPA collaboration will engage and support New York State communities and challenge local students to compete academically and professionally and to have the opportunity to participate in the clean energy economy.”
Other student groups and their projects include:
Western New York: Students from Be Solar P-TECH in association with Erie Community College in the Buffalo/Niagara area will conduct an energy audit of a local NYPA customer, considering energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions associated with energy efficiency upgrades; and
Queens/New York City: Students from Energy Tech High School in association with LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens, will develop an energy storage assessment and installation plan for their high school.