Dominion Energy Wind for Students

Dominion Energy and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation have partnered with The National Energy Development Project (NEED) for over 3 decades to offer energy education curriculum and training to teachers and students. Curriculum was developed to introduce students to wind, wind generation, and offshore wind technologies, as well as the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project. 

In 2023, two schools were selected to receive a micro-wind turbine installation that also includes solar and storage. In late November, New Horizons Regional Education Center in Newport News, VA hosted a ribbon-cutting of its micro wind turbine, which will be used in lessons for high school students in a career and technical program. Ocean View Elementary in Norfolk, VA hosted a similar ceremony in late January 2024.  Learn more about Dominion Energy Wind for Students here.

We invite you to check out these great news articles discussing the program:

PG&E Career Exploration Week

In July, we piloted a new model program in two communities called “PG&E Career Exploration Week” and we’re delighted with the outcome. A program for rising seniors at Edison High School in Fresno brought students to three different PG&E facilities where they learned from mentors about careers in engineering, planning and operations, customer care and service dispatching, fire prevention and much more. Templeton High School students in San Luis Obispo County worked with electrical lineworkers, service planners, and safety and firefighting specialists.  

Learn more here in a blog written by NEED California State Director, Barry Scott, as well as the Press Release.

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

Virtual · 350 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 2023, NEED worked with an incredible team of teachers who facilitated and mentored just over 350 Prince George’s County students via Zoom.  Virtual still meant hands-on as students were shipped supplies to their home and got to build and test energy houses, wind turbine generators, and solar ovens. They also practiced public speaking activities and discussed energy news articles.

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 continued support of the Prince George’s County Office of Sustainable Energy for making this investment in the county’s future energy workforce.    

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. 

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.

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.

Man in a hazmat suit showing students around a power plant

Expanded in 2023, NEED is pleased to partner with the Exelon Foundation and Delmarva Power to offer this STEM-focused energy program for grades 3–12 in Delmarva Power communities.

A total of 233 schools participated in the 2022-2023 Energizing Student Potential Program. Well over 36,303 students were engaged with curriculum and materials provided from the ESP Program. Based on 294 teacher evaluation responses across all programs, 100% agreed the ESP trainings met their expectations, the workshop trainings increased their energy knowledge, and participating in the program will all them to increase their students’ energy knowledge.

Applications for the Energizing Student Potential Program are accepted on a rolling basis each academic year, learn more here.

The activities are great and hands-on!
– ESP IL Teacher

Thank you for this meaningful experience!
– ESP BG&E Teacher

Student working on papers at a table
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.  The program empowers students to understand energy and electricity generation, transmission, and distribution on a greater scale.  Over the four years, participants explore clean energy options from ComEd’s generation portfolio, including nuclear, wind, and solar.

For 2023, we successfully reformatted the program into a fully in-person experience.  This opened the opportunity of engaging with students in unique locations like the Powering Lives Center.  This change in formatting has allowed us to explore custom curriculum activities like designing and powering microgrids with functional power poles and racing student-decorated and hand-powered Electric Vehicles.  The new activities created more substantial final projects for the groups to tackle with the support of their ComEd mentors.  This included presentations on climate change, working microgrid models, and design challenges.

Students presenting a project
Students working on a science experiment

Power of STEM

The Power of STEM Program provides single session STEM programming for grade school through high school students.  Each session is themed after climate change, solar, or microgrid design.  Students work with a NEED facilitator and ComEd volunteers to explore hands-on activities while learning about real steps being taken by ComEd to create a reliable grid for its customers.  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.  

In 2023, this proven program continued to expand in frequency.  Many organizations that request a Power of STEM presentation sign up for all 3 programs.  As demand has increased, we have also supplemented the existing programs to accommodate younger students using more age appropriate activities and coloring opportunities.

ComEd Scholars Mentor Program

This college-aged program brings future STEM professionals together with ComED mentors.  As the mentors and mentees network and learn from one another, they bond over a “cup of science” instead of a “cup of coffee.”  Working with their mentors, mentees take on unique STEM challenges that allow them to apply their technical training in a creative way.  They learn from/with their mentor and apply their knowledge to an individualized final challenge.  With a proven training model, the mentors are provided with very detailed agendas, slides with speaker notes, virtual session training, and videos of training. This sets mentors up for success with background knowledge and engagement to create some really great experiences!

In 2023, this program has had the opportunity to blend the program with both in-person and online sessions.  Being in person allowed the scholars to visit the ComEd training session for a tour and hear from executive speakers.  Beyond our final challenge, being in-person allowed mentors and mentees to race rubber band powered cars for a mid-program challenge.

Students attending presentation

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.

96 teachers participated in the 2022-2023 PEEP Program, not including any co-teachers who assisted in implementing the program. There were 66 participating schools across 30 cities in Pennsylvania. At least 18,179 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.

Love the hands-on experience and shows us how to use in the classroom! Lots of Fun!

-PEEP Program Teacher

Youth Energy Summit – A partnership with Constellation

The Youth Energy Summit was created to bring together young people who want to be part of the climate change solution and are willing to learn and lead us to a brighter and more sustainable future. 

35 students in 10th and 11th grade participated in this free event.  The Challenge entailed student groups to take on the role of a local Climate Action Committee with the goal of creating a Climate Action Plan for their selected location. They researched energy consumption, electricity generation, transportation, industry, and climate impacts. 

Check out the slideshow, view photos, and read this great news article!

The Constellation Youth Energy Summit will be back July 14-19, 2024! Open to students in 10th or 11th grade who are interested in energy and sustainability and who are living in eligible Constellation communities (Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas). Spread the word! PDF of Flyer to share.


LUMA Energy is the power company responsible for power distribution and power transmission in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. LUMA and NEED partnered together to host an Electric Vehicle Challenge for local 9th and 10th grade girls in Puerto Rico.  

During a series of 5 sessions, students learned about the forms of energy, the sources of energy, electricity generation and transmission, energy efficiency, and climate change. The EV STEM Challenge had students working in small teams to design, engineer, and build an electric go-kart with the help of LUMA coaches. 

NEED also hosted in partnership with LUMA a student “Clean Resilient Grid” 1-day workshop for local high school students interested in STEM to come to Polytecnic University and engage in hands-on activities. Students worked with LUMA coaches to investigate forms of energy and energy transformations with NEED’s Science of Energy stations. They learned about the terms renewable and nonrenewable by playing Candy Collector. The workshop concluded with students building upon the morning’s electricity challenge to dive further into circuits and create a microgrid.  

Snapshots captured of these great events are viewable here

Exelon Foundation STEM Academy

The Exelon Foundation STEM 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 2023, each Academy had 60 students and 10 student mentors.

Beyond the weeklong summer experiences, participants engage in programming throughout the year at in person and virtual hands-on STEM events, career chats, and professional skills sessions. Alumnae of the summer program receive career mentorship from Exelon employees.

In 2023, six alumnae received scholarships and internships through the Exelon Foundation STEM Academy program.

In 2024, the program will expand to include young men. Know any students currently in 10th or 11th grade (class of 2025 and 2026) who are interested in STEM? Encourage them to apply (deadline is April 11, 2024) for the 2024 Exelon Foundation STEM Academy. More details here and be sure to check out photos from past years.