#STEMStories: Getting High School Students in the Groove for Green Careers

From the Solar Trees® charging electric vehicles in the parking lot, to the automation devices managing the Smart Home, SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center (EIC) is a one-stop shop for visitors to experience the latest and “greenest” in energy-saving technologies.

From the Solar Trees® charging electric vehicles in the parking lot to the automation devices managing the Smart Home, SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center (EIC) is a one-stop shop for visitors to experience the latest and “greenest” in energy-saving technologies.

We recently had the opportunity to share our LEED Double Platinum facility with nearly 150 high school students for a conference to explore the green careers awaiting them after graduation. Students from six area high schools participated in the conference, getting a glimpse into potential careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

At SDG&E, we’re proud to support a wide range of local organizations dedicated to developing our next generation of STEM leaders. One of the organizations we support is Strategic Energy Innovations. SEI is a non-profit aimed at creating a better, more sustainable future through innovative workforce readiness programs that teach students about jobs in the growing green sector and provide hands-on occupational training.

The SEI-organized careers conference brought together students from Hoover, Southwest, Kearny, Patrick Henry, Grossmont, and IDEA Center High Schools. Timothy Bingham, SEI program manager, said the partnership with SDG&E has benefited many students, particularly those from underserved communities.

“This center is like a living model for them to come and see what they can do at home, at school, and in business with green practices and sustainability in mind,” he said.

Getting inspired

Southwest High junior Mark Romero checked out the exhibits on renewable energy and battery storage and was intrigued by all the engineering that went into the technologies. He was particularly impressed by the smart window inside the EIC’s Smart Home that changes from transparent to opaque with a simple flick of a switch, helping to conserve energy.

Other students were captivated by the Smart Home’s home automation technologies that are all interconnected and can be operated by voice to control everything from lights and ceiling fans, to music, security and more.

Kearny English teacher Jessica Frichtel explained that the field trip to the Energy Innovation Center was the culmination of a class project on energy use and climate change. Kearny students had recently finished developing a climate action plan for their school and will be working to implement it.

To learn how you can bring your classroom to the Energy Innovation Center for customized student tours, visit sdge.com/eic/tour.