Each year, the Prince George’s County Office of Human Resource Management hosts the Summer Youth Employment Program. In a “normal” year, thousands of students participate – working and learning in service projects with various county agencies and programs. In 2019, NEED hosted 250 students for six weeks of energy knowledge – with a focus on home energy efficiency. As the county shifted to a virtual plan in 2020, NEED worked with an incredible team of teacher facilitators to pull off SYEP for 500 students in Zoom. Students received boxes of energy supplies at home – so that the entire program could be hands-on. Students completed energy and engineering challenges, taught each other about energy conservation and efficiency, and built valuable work skills – like working in Zoom, making presentations, collaboration and cooperation. 2021 is being planned now. NEED is honored to be part of this program and appreciates the support of the Prince George’s County Office of Sustainable Energy making the investment in the county’s future energy workforce.
Exelon has made it a mission to help close the gender gap in STEM fields by focusing on gender diversity, mentorship and support of women in the workplace. The Exelon Foundation partnered with NEED and the United Nations HeForShe Initiative to educate and encourage young women interested in STEM. In addition to STEM programs and activities throughout the academic year, Exelon created the Exelon STEM Leadership Academy for high school girls. NEED is proud to partner with the Exelon Foundation to make this opportunity available to 180 young women each year in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C./Baltimore.
When it became obvious that the pandemic would push everything into the virtual environment, the STEM Academy team at the Exelon Foundation and at NEED planned an incredible Zoom experience for participating girls. From delivering all the hands-on supplies needed for the activities and STEM Academy Challenge (along with snacks) to moving all speakers and field trips virtual, the spring was filled with finding ways to make the Academies the best possible experience for students in these really weird times. Participants received iPads, t-shirts, (did we mention snacks), and more. They worked in small groups with Exelon, ComEd, Exelon Generation, ComEd, Pepco, and PECO employees and had a great Zoom session with Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane. Although the girls all said they would have preferred an in person, on campus experience, they said they had a great time, learned a lot, and gained valuable skills for their education and career paths.
- Chicago Virtual Participant
- Philadelphia Virtual Participant
- DC/Maryland Virtual Participant