Workplace learning experiences to benefit 15 students from Buffalo, Utica & Queens, part of NYPA’s commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion
√ Collaboration with high schools, colleges supports state’s priority to develop pipeline of skilled clean energy workers
Fifteen high school students from underserved communities in New York City, the Mohawk Valley and Western New York will begin six-week internships this week with the New York Power Authority to learn professional skills that will help them land competitive jobs in New York’s growing clean energy workforce or other careers after graduation.
A press release stated, “Serving as an industry partner in the nationally respected Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, known as P-TECH, affirms NYPA’s industry-leading commitment to encourage, create and maintain a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce.”
NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said, “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. 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.”
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “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. 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.”
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 press release added, “The P-TECH program, offered in 240 schools across 28 countries, combines rigorous 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.
“NYPA’s involvement is a key component of its industry-leading, organizationwide diversity, equity and inclusion plan announced in its ‘VISION2030’ strategy and part of the environmental justice STEM program, which provides educational resources to students from underrepresented communities near NYPA’s statewide power generation and transmission assets.”
Lisa Payne Wansley, NYPA’s vice president of environmental justice, said, “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. 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.”
Five students will come from each of the following locations and focus on a particular project:
•Western New York: Students from Be Solar P-TECH in association with Erie Community College (SUNY) 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.
•Mohawk Valley: Students from Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) P-TECH in association with Mohawk Valley Community College (SUNY) in Utica will research NYPA’s vehicle fleet and make a plan for full electrification and needed charging infrastructure.
•Queens/New York City: Students from Energy Tech High School in association with LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) in Long Island City, Queens will develop an energy storage assessment and installation plan for their high school.
Depending on COVID-19 restrictions, teams are planning to visit their closest NYPA site for a tour: the Niagara Power Vista, the Frederick R. Clark Energy Center and the New York Energy Zone, and the Eugene W. Zeltmann Power Project, respectively.
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.