WHITE PLAINS — The New York Power Authority is giving interns a taste of real-world scenarios as part of its Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) initiative. “Last summer we had 40 paid interns, increasing the total number of interns to 82 since the program began in 2021,” Environmental Justice Manager Alexandra DeRosa told NYPA trustees this week. She said the goal of the program is to prepare students for utility careers “and align their studies with energy industry skills sets, something that we’re very proud of.” “We were able to accomplish for the first time last year offering industry certifications as part of the internship program. We had about two dozen interns who earned energy auditing certifications or HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) and CLT (Certified Logistics Technician) certifications, and we had interns that received pilot certifications or FAA 107 (drone license certification),” DeRosa said. “For us this is a great step in expanding the workplace experience that we work really hard to tailor for these students to give them the best six-week internship possible.” She said they stay in touch with many of the interns via Linked In or through texts or emails, and learn how some of them have advanced their careers in the workforce. Among them, she said, was one who was hired as an assistant system operator at the Clark Energy Center. Two others were hired as energy auditors, and another was hired at Con Edison. “It’s really exciting for us to be able to work with our stakeholders in a way that’s translating into new careers. Having such an impact has been really rewarding for our team,” DeRosa said. She said they’ll be hosting 50 interns this summer. “We’re increasing the number a little bit,” she said. Those interns will be working with cybersecurity. “Those are the glamorous projects. They get to fly drones and get to work on cybersecurity projects. This is how we can draw interns into the program and make it as appealing to the youth,” DeRosa said A junior fellowship program that they’re launching in the fall will give P-Tech students an opportunity to engage in a paid year-long energy-related research project. “That will be new for us,” she said. “This is a way that we can engage with younger students and give them workplace experience opportunities.” The Power Authority offers six-week paid internships to dozens of P-TECH scholars from disadvantaged communities near NYPA generation and transmission assets. Interns spend most of their time working alongside their peers and NYPA employees contributing directly to real projects that further New York state’s clean energy goals. In addition to the hands-on, technical projects, interns receive one-to-one mentorship, a full day each week devoted to financial literacy, introductions to NYPA staff across different departments, and professionalism and “soft skills” learning, led by Follow Us To Success, a national firm with an emphasis on helping underserved student populations from urban and rural backgrounds to close the post-secondary achievement gap. P-TECH is partnering with the Power Authority and local high schools and community colleges to educate students and ensure they have the skills required to enter the workforce after graduation. Eligible participants include high school students and those in community colleges targeting two-year associate degrees in a STEM field. “The New York Power Authority is committed to inspiring more young people from diverse backgrounds to enter into and succeed in clean energy careers,” President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said in a statement. “By allowing access to our facilities, matching students up with staff mentors and giving them a role in a specific clean energy project, these young scholars will get real workplace experience and cultivate many of the specific skills needed for jobs in the clean energy economy.”
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