Students on a group online video chat for the Prince Georges County program

Prince George’s County (MD) Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP)

Virtual · 380 Students · Building Valuable Work Skills · Energy Education

Each year, the Prince George’s County Office of Human Resource Management hosts the Summer Youth Employment Program.  In the summer of 2022, NEED worked with an incredible team of teachers who facilitated and mentored 380 Prince George’s County students via Zoom.  Virtual still meant lots of hands-on! Each student received supplies shipped to their home to engage in hands-on energy and STEM lessons such as rubber band car racers, building solar ovens, and designing energy houses. They learned about energy sources, electricity generation, careers in energy, resume writing skills, and more!

Youth@Work/SYEP is an award winning, nationally recognized program and has been one of the County’s signature programs for more than 30 years. NEED is honored to be part of this program since 2019.  We appreciate the support of the Prince George’s County Office of Sustainable Energy for making this investment in the county’s future energy workforce.

PG&E Summer Fellowship Program

Pacific Gas and Electric Company and NEED recently wrapped up a Summer Fellowship program for 20 high school juniors & seniors from throughout the Pacific Gas & Electric Company service area, California’s largest utility company. Learn more here in our blog, written by NEED California State Director, Barry Scott.

The Interns from the Pacific Gas and Electric outreach program
Photo of students in an industrial power plant with the ESP logo superimposed over it

Energizing Student Potential

Energizing Student Potential (ESP) is a program designed to help educators bring energy into the school and to provide all the tools and resources necessary for students and educators to learn together, explore energy together, and teach their local communities about energy. The program brings together standards-based curriculum for use by library media specialists, classroom and afterschool teachers. Energizing Student Potential is a collaborative educational initiative designed to empower students to explore opportunities in STEM fields and help them discover their own path to innovation through a variety of classroom subjects.

Teachers receive hands-on training, curriculum materials, and resources to help bring STEM into their classroom or OST Programs.  Students host community energy fairs, engage in educational energy audits of their school building, and master energy concepts to teach their peers. 

I learned during the ESP Program types of energy, different ways to save and use energy, and the importance of energy.

– ESP Student

The Exelon Foundation, ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, and BP America, in partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, sponsor the Illinois and NW Indiana Energizing Student Potential Program for grades 3-12 within their respective customer regions.

Pepco and the Exelon Foundation, in partnership with NEED, sponsor the Energizing Student Potential Program for grades 3 – 12 in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) MD, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) MD, and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) for use by classroom teachers, library media specialists, and afterschool program leaders in classroom or other settings.

Children from a school class taking a tour of a power plant
Children connecting wires to a breaker board as part of an experiment

New in 2022, BGE and the Exelon Foundation, in partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, offered local schools the Energizing Student Potential (ESP), a STEM-focused energy program for grades 3 – 8 throughout the BGE service area. The program is also perfect for youth advocacy organizations with afterschool or weekend programs for youth.

A total of 125 schools participated in the 2021-2022 Energizing Student Potential Program. Well over 16,828 students were engaged with curriculum and materials provided from the ESP Program. Based on 134 teacher evaluation responses across all programs, 99% agreed the ESP trainings met their expectations and 100% agreed the workshop trainings increased their energy knowledge and will allow them to increase their students’ energy knowledge.

I learned about energy and how different energies impact our daily life.
– ESP Student

The Energizing Student Program was fun!
– ESP Student

School Children in a power plant getting a tour
School Children in the Energizing Student Potential Program
Comed Logo

ComEd STEM Programs are designed to catalyze social change one student at a time by empowering individuals to reimagine possibilities. Through hands-on learning, mentorship, and professional development, ComEd is shaping the leaders of tomorrow and inspiring them to solve present and future problems

ComEd Create A Spark

The ComEd Create a Spark Program, in partnership with The NEED Project, seeks to supplement 9th – 12th grade Illinois students ongoing education through a fun project-based STEM lesson utilizing real-world examples and mentored by experienced engineering professionals. For 2022, we went back to a blended model being able to work in person with students again. This opened the opportunity of engaging with students in unique locations like the ComEd Training Center and the Powering Lives Center. NEED has officially created all 4 years of the program after primarily developing the junior program.  The Freshman, Sophomore, and Senior program curriculums have been redesigned from the ground up.  The program provides students with 5 sessions of STEM activities, working with a small group and mentor.  The 4 years of programming alternate between culminating with a large group project and knowledge challenge.

Student demonstrating a science experiment for a class
Students participating in the ComEd Power of STEM program

Power of STEM

The Power of STEM Program provides single session STEM programming for grade school through high school students.  Each session provides a different theme such as climate change, solar energy, and microgrid design.  The microgrid program was successfully tested in the fall of 2022!  This program is focusing its time on supporting students in high need areas through schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs in Chicagoland and Rockford.  This program led to the creation of NEED’s Reliably Smart microgrid activity.

 ComEd Scholars Mentor Program

All ComEd programs have been mentor/facilitator led, using ComEd employees as mentors.  With a proven training model, the mentors are provided with very detailed agendas, slides with speaker notes, virtual session trainings, and videos of trainings. This sets mentors up for success with background knowledge and engagement to create some really great experiences!

PEEP 2.0

PECO and The Exelon Foundation, in partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, offer PECO Energizing Education Program (PEEP) 2.0, a STEM-focused energy program for grades 4-12. This program brings together standards-based curriculum, teacher training, STEM innovation challenges and many other engaging and fun activities.

PEEP 2.0 Programming invites educators from across the 6 counties PECO serves to participate in energy education workshops and receive hands-on kits for their classrooms. Participants receive their choice of a hands-on energy kit and standards-aligned curriculum.

74 teachers participated in the 2022 PEEP Program, not including any co-teachers who assisted in implementing the program. There were 63 participating schools across 22 cities in Pennsylvania. At least 8,264 students were expected to be reached utilizing program materials and curriculum, not including those reached through student outreach such as educational energy audits and school energy fairs.

Spruance Middle Schoolers and St. Martin Middle Schoolers PEEP experiences

This program made my students more aware of what energy is and how we should be accountable as to how we use it. They loved the experiments.

-Tildren Middle School Teacher

Collage of photos of students working in the BGE STEM into action program

STEM into Action

BGE and NEED were honored to work with Child First Authority and the Baltimore Y on this summer’s BGE STEM into Action program for students. This four-week program featured energy explorations from NEED, field trips to local energy and environment locations and speakers from BGE.

Take a look at this great blog about the program!


LUMA Energy is the power company responsible for power distribution and power transmission in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. LUMA and NEED are partnering together to host an Electric Vehicle Challenge for local students in Puerto Rico.  In November 2022, NEED met 40 amazing young females who will be working with NEED and our engineer friends at Luma Energy Puerto Rico to build electric Go-Karts over the next few months. The students learned about circuits and grids and energy forms and sources and will start building January 2023. Stay tuned for all the fun!

A go cart in front of a LUMA sign
Students working at a table
Smiling teacher taking a selfie in front of a classroom of students working
Overhead shot of students working out math equations

Exelon Foundation STEM Leadership Academy

The Exelon Foundation STEM Leadership Academy is a free, week-long in-person event designed to give young women in high school hands-on experience in STEM, energy, and sustainability. NEED is proud to partner with the Exelon Foundation to make this opportunity available to young women each year in Chicago, Philadelphia and the Washington, D.C./Maryland area.

The experience is aimed to engage and prepare students to consider STEM academic & career paths, build STEM knowledge and skills, practice leadership, communication, and presentation skills. The Academy provides these young women with access to authentic experiences at STEM institutions and Exelon energy facilities. In 2022, each Academy had 60 students and 10 student staff/mentors.

Know any young women currently in 10th or 11th grade (class of 2024 and 2025) who are interested in STEM? Encourage them to apply (deadline is April 11, 2023) for the 2023 Exelon Foundation STEM Leadership Academy. More details here and be sure to check out photos from past year!