BGE Supports STEM Programs Throughout Maryland Schools with College Scholarships
People draw their inspiration to work in an energy-related field from a broad range of experiences. Some find the inspiration to teach others about efficient energy use while still in high school. Others seek to integrate the STEM disciplines they’ve studied within one career, while still others choose to work with a utility company, a career that demands knowledge of cutting-edge computer skills and state-of-the-art applications. Throughout the Baltimore area, BGE partners with community and non-profit organizations as well as educational institutions to inspire a diverse community to discover their careers with the regional utility company or elsewhere in the dynamic energy field.
BGE has built a strategic approach that ensures that they are measuring meaningful progress toward community goals. Many studies have indicated that the earlier students are introduced to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum, the more likely they are to gain confidence and excel in these critical disciplines as they continue their education. This year, BGE will support STEM teaching for over 1,900 third through twelfth grade students.
BGE has partnered with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project to offer grades 3-8 a STEM-focused energy program that teachers can implement in class and during after-school activities. The Energizing Student Potential (ESP) program calls upon spiral learning techniques to offer a comprehensive educational experience. Classroom activities are supplemented with a student-run school energy audit, energy fair, and energy-focused STEM challenge. Speakers and career spokespeople will also visit each school, an extraordinary opportunity to inform and excite students about STEM early in their school experience.
Students learn about much more than energy use during ESP and other curriculum. They study climate science and learn about the origin of their electricity, energy efficiency, and careers in the field. Several of these programs are expand for the high school grades, adding internships and female-specific opportunities to explore STEM careers.
Partnering again with NEED, the STEM Academy can change the life path of a young woman. In this opportunity to engage with peers in a weeklong program, more than 180 female scholars participate nationwide. Sixty Baltimore-based students will engage in the local STEM program. One student, Nesochim Iheanyi-Igew, also one of BGE’s 62 high school interns in 2020-21, will study chemical engineering at The Ohio State University on a full Exelon scholarship this fall.
BGE High School interns like Ms. Iheanyi-Igew spend six weeks learning about workplace readiness and professional development, invaluable skills for vocational experience at BGE – several former interns work at the utility – and other potential careers. These students participate in classes as well, specifically preparing for the Construction and Skilled Trades (CAST) test, an industry standard that is required for postgraduate employment. All student interns receive laptops and mobile hotspots to ensure equal Internet access and work materials for all. They may also take driver’s education as part of the program, another “leg up” when seeking a career at BGE, where driving is often required.
“Young people must have scientific and technological literacy more than ever before to succeed in today’s society and economy,” says Mary E. Spruill, Executive Director of NEED. “Educators recognize the need for STEM, but many lack access to the resources needed to engage and support promising students.”
BGE continues to partner with area colleges and universities in an effort to hire students from diverse backgrounds in Central Maryland. BGE focuses academic scholarships on STEM majors. The program is earmarked to benefit those students who live in BGE’s service area, have financial need, and demonstrate academic merit.
These scholarships are designed to develop talented students to one day work in a variety of energy fields at BGE. In 2021-22, over 70 scholars will receive a total investment of $625,000 to study at area HBCUs (including Morgan State University, Coppin State University, and Bowie State University), University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Stevenson University, among several other colleges and universities.
BGE is also determined to provide career opportunities for adult jobseekers. A pilot program, the Technology Academy, is designed for adults interested in pursuing a career as a software developer who have not had access to the opportunity. The program involves a ten-week technical program that emphasizes hands-on training. These students study the foundation of software development and engage in professional skills training.
The Technology Academy, in partnership with the UMBC Training Centers and the Choice Program at UMBC, will receive a stipend and all required materials and equipment. Each successful member of the inaugural class of 15 students will be introduced to industry partners in need of talented individuals in this ever-changing and environmentally critical field.
“UMBC Training Centers is thrilled to partner with BGE to launch the Technology Academy Program,” says Emily Branchaw, Director of Workforce Development. With a shared vision of connecting and training young adults in the Baltimore City region for technical careers, the partnership is poised to create meaningful outcomes for program participants.
In each of these initiatives, BGE remains committed to advancing economic equity throughout the region, whether teaching energy conservation to a middle schooler or connecting adult job seekers with the opportunity and financial support to pursue a well-paying career within the energy industry or beyond. Teaching, training, and hiring local students and individuals improves the local economy and strengthens the greater community. By working with community and non-profit partnerships, BGE provides the greatest opportunities to middle school, high school, and college students as well as area job seekers.
BGE strives to see this work through distinct Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion terms, with an ongoing emphasis on equity. Current BGE employees volunteer at local food banks, participate in company-wide fundraising events, and maintain a consistently positive presence within their communities. BGE believes its corporate responsibility travels beyond its current workforce, supporting programs that encourage young female scholars, teach middle school students to audit their energy use, and provide college scholarships for deserving interns. Visit the BGE website to learn more about these and other vocational, internship, and academic opportunities.