In 2010, PG&E created California’s first immersive energy training program of its kind for high school students in order to address the needs of a growing “green” technology workforce and to better prepare our state’s children for viable and successful futures in the energy sector.
The New Energy Academy (NEA) is a partnership between the California Department of Education (CDE) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The NEA was the first time that private industry partnered directly with the CDE to build partnership academies for the energy/utility sector.
NEA is currently in its fourth year at four schools in Northern and Central California: Foothill High School (Sacramento), Venture Academy (Stockton), Independence High School (Bakersfield) and Edison High School (Fresno). In 2014, we partnered with Arroyo Grande High School (San Luis Obispo).
This summer, PG&E will expand support to each New Energy Partnership Academy by providing a five-week paid work-based learning opportunity that will help students prepare for a career in the energy and utility industry, and expose them to a real-world work environment.
An internship overview and orientation for PG&E staff will precede the five-week internship program, which begins on June 2 at two of the academies and includes these thematic weeks:
The first week is an introduction to the sponsor, PG&E, and Certificate Training.
Students will learn about PG&E’s vision, values, and safety culture. They will also begin certificate coursework. Students will work to earn valued industry recognized certificates that will make them more competitive on the market, including CPR and OSHA-10. Students will also spend time with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW Local 1245, to get a union overview and visit the IBEW Union Hall. Union members will teach interns about the PG&E-IBEW Joint Apprenticeship and Training Programs.
Week Two entails a Project Based Learning assignment. Students will experience real world working environments: developing goals, products, an programs, working with tight deadlines, time management, cross functional team collaboration, budgets, presentation skills, and receiving constructive feedback.
Week Three is dedicated to Soft Skills. Interns will learn a series of soft skills including job search strategies, workplace etiquette, interview skills, and resume development. Much of the instruction will be provided by local Workforce Investment Board staff.
During their fourth week, interns will be assigned to a PG&E department and will report daily to a direct supervisor. Assignments will vary from direct job shadowing, ride alongs, clerical work, analyzing information, customer calls and data entry.
The fifth and final week engages interns in college preparation activities.
Students will receive an introduction to FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and other resources for college assistance and will visit at least one local college or university for a tour.
Consistent with the California Department of Education model for partnership academies like Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s New Energy Academies, graduates will be equally well prepared for a future in the energy industry AND for continuing education, depending upon their career pathway.
More about the PG&E New Energy Academy program here: