PG&E has joined two other California utilities in sponsoring contests for high school and college students as a way encourage them to think about careers in the energy industry. The launch of the contests coincide with Careers in Energy Week, which runs through Oct. 21.
PG&E joined with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to celebrate Careers in Energy Week by announcing an essay contest for high school students and an innovation idea challenge for community college and university students.
Winners will receive up to $1,000 each.
The theme of the contests is how an education in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) can power the future workforce of the energy industry. This is California’s first Careers in Energy Week, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown as part of a nationwide effort to increase student and public awareness about technical education and job opportunities in the energy and utility industry.
“Sustaining a future of affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy requires creativity, drive and new ways of thinking,” said John Simon, senior vice president of human resources for PG&E. “Through initiatives like Careers in Energy Week, PG&E is encouraging students and budding innovators to get connected with the new energy workforce.”
The national Center for Energy Workforce Development has spearheaded the Careers in Energy Week initiative across the country. California is the 14th state to sign on, propelled by the California Energy and Utility Workforce Consortium, which includes representatives from education, industry and workforce system.
- The California Public Utilities Commission estimates that as many as 29,000 clean-energy jobs will be needed in PG&E’s service area by 2020.
- PG&E estimates that as much as half of the utility’s workforce could retire in the next five years.
- Nationwide, the nation’s utilities need skilled craft workers as the energy infrastructure is modernized.
The three participating California utilities will engage with students at approximately two dozen educational institutions, including high schools, community colleges and universities, to promote the potential for careers in the industry . The outreach will reinforce STEM technical training programs, career pathways in the utility and energy industries and programs through local nonprofits and educational institutions.
The outreach also will promote the two contests.
- For the essay contest, three high school winners will be selected, each earning a $500 cash prize.
- In the innovation idea contest, three teams of community college or university students (up to four people per team) will earn cash prizes of $1,000 each.
Each participating school will select up to 10 entries to be submitted in each competition. The deadline for entries in both is Friday, November 16.