ENERGY WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES
As with many events in 2020, NEED had to figure out a way to quickly move in-person workshops to the virtual realm. The trick was to find an innovative way to create the same atmosphere of hands-on learning and prevent educators from experiencing Zoom fatigue. We researched best virtual platforms and practices, purchased technology to enhance the presenter’s screen and demonstrations, and trained our awesome NEED Facilitators who were up to the challenge!
Solar Career Pathways was a partnership with NEED and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as the leaders in the program. Additional sponsors include Spotlight Solar, Baker Energy, and the Greater Sacramento Urban League. The program began in spring of 2019 when we started working on a curriculum piece for a 40-hour training program designed to help young adults in underserved communities prepare for entry-level careers in the solar installation industry. The participants in the program would then go on to help install some solar sculptures provided by Spotlight Solar. The class was structured to be ten, four-hour class meetings for a total of 40 hours. Most of these class sessions were two evenings per week starting January 8, 2020. The course ended February 13th with a celebration for those who completed the course. At any given time, 40 adults ranging in age from 18 to 56 were registered, but the core of the class consisted of 21 participants who attended nearly all of the classes and completed all of the assignments and assessments.
Lead instructor, Caryn Turrel, reflects,
July 19-22, 2020
Each July NEED hosts a National Energy Conference, which brings together educators that are passionate about bringing energy education into their classrooms. Through five interactive days, the conference provides teachers with the most up-to-date information on all aspects of energy including the science of energy, sources of energy, transportation, electricity, efficiency and environmental and economic impacts. While we held out hope for an in-person event, it came down to the tough decision of canceling or finding a way to host an engaging, virtual experience. A huge thank you to our sponsor, ConocoPhillips, who recognized the value this annual conference has for educators and sponsored NEED hosting a more condensed virtual conference for interested applicants. To not diminish our key hands-on experience that NEED is known for, supplies and curriculum materials were sent ahead of time to the 27 virtual conference participants. Utilizing the breakout room feature in Zoom, NEED was also still able to present information and activities geared at specific grade levels and energy topics. 100% of our participants liked the virtual path we took to still host this event and would recommend attending either virtually or in-person to their colleagues/peers.
We look forward to being in-person again for the 2021 Conference that is set for July 18-22 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Applications are open!
August 2-5, 2020
The Cape Light Compact, Eversource, National Grid, Columbia Gas Massachusetts, and Berkshire Gas in partnership with The NEED Project hosted our first Massachusetts Energy Conference for Educators.