This summer, 17 Spokane area high school juniors and seniors spent the month of July discovering if a career in the energy field could be their pathway to a successful future. Through Avista’s inaugural Energy Pathways student career experience, the students experienced classroom sessions with Avista experts from various technical and skilled trade fields, then the students put their learning into practice with hands-on activities including designing, planning and performing actual utility tasks.
Part of the month long experience, which concludes this Friday, has the students identifying positions of interest to them within Avista for job shadowing in the fields of alternative and emerging energy including wind, solar and battery technologies; energy efficiency and sustainability; engineering; and maintenance and operations of the energy system.
“The changing utility industry and a wave of retirements are creating opportunities for good paying skilled jobs that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree. Our goal for Energy Pathways is to provide participating high school students with career connected learning. Through their four-week experience, the students have the opportunity to explore and develop the knowledge, skills and abilities that may lead them to a career in the energy field,” said Karen Feltes, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Avista.
“The continuum from exposure to energy jobs to educational and training opportunities to good paying jobs in the energy field are all available in our area. That’s important to growing and keeping our local talent,” Feltes added.
Avista’s Energy Pathways student experience aligns with Washington state’s Career Connect Washington initiative announced by Gov. Jay Inslee in May 2017. The goal of the initiative is to connect 100,000 Washington students over five years with career-connected learning opportunities preparing them for high-demand, high-wage jobs.
“Avista is leading the way in Career Connected Learning and are sharing how they are supporting career exploration with other utilities,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Avista’s curriculum can be the basis for Washington utilities to grow their own individualized programs and their efforts align with our goals to help students understand the bright possibilities and futures in energy distribution, technology and management.”
On Monday, July 30, Governor Inslee addressed the group of students during a visit to Avista’s Mission Campus. He was able to learn more about what they got out of the program and gained insights into how this effort is helping students discover a career path in energy. See a summary of the visit on KREM2.