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For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
New four-year program prepares students for energy jobs, continued STEM education
CHICAGO (Sept. 25, 2018) – Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood is partnering with ComEd to launch an energy academy that will make the science of energy a key part of the students’ four-year learning experience and offer paid apprenticeships to prepare them for job opportunities and further education.
School officials, teachers, community leaders and ComEd representatives launched the Dunbar Energy Academy today and welcomed the first group of ninth graders – members of the Dunbar Vocational High School class of 2022 – into the program. Participating students who are 16 to 18 years old will be eligible to compete for paid apprenticeships reserved for Dunbar Energy Academy.
“With the growth of solar and other renewable energy sources and smart city technologies, we recognized the need to develop our students’ understanding of the science of energy whether they are looking for job opportunities or wish to continue their education in STEM fields,” said Gerald Morrow, principal, Dunbar High School. “Energy, sustainability and technology are popular subjects among our students, and we’re confident this program will be a challenging and valuable learning opportunity and provide them an edge.”
The “Get into Energy” curriculum created by the Center for Energy Workforce Development provides the foundation for the program. The program includes seven modules and a total of 70 hours of instruction by Dunbar math and science teachers. The curriculum includes:
ComEd will augment in-class learning with guest speakers on renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart city technologies, among other subjects. It will also provide tours of ComEd’s training center in Bridgeport and other facilities and offer participation in an annual Youth Energy Conference.
“As we create the utility of the future, we are equally focused on building a workforce of the future,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of governmental and external affairs at ComEd. “We have several STEM education programs, and the Dunbar Energy Academy is the first to make the science of energy and related career tracks core components of the curriculum at one of the best vocational high schools in the nation. We are proud to partner with Dunbar and hope to welcome these students into the energy workforce of the future.”
Marquez said the Dunbar Academy is an outgrowth of the company’s Community of the Future in Bronzeville, a collaboration with residents focused on addressing community challenges using smart grid technology and engaging area youth in STEM education. Last year, it launched the ComEd Ideathon, which challenges high school students in the Bronzeville area to learn about sensor-based technology and create prototypes of smart city solutions that have the potential to enhance community life.
ComEd’s Solar Spotlight program exposes Chicago-area African-American and Hispanic students to solar energy and other STEM-related topics. ComEd is also partnering with the HFS Chicago Scholars to help economically disadvantaged students develop an understanding of engineering and technology concepts related to energy efficiency and sustainability. In August, ComEd held its fifth annual Icebox Derby, which challenges young women to transform recycled refrigerators into electric and solar-powered racecars and awards participants $1,500 scholarships.
More information on ComEd student education programs can be found at: www.comed.com/SafetyCommunity/Community/Pages/EducationTechnology.aspx.
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