Do you know how many gallons of crude oil equal 1 barrel? Or can you explain the differences in “renewable” and “nonrenewable” forms of energy? In the past, conventional education curriculums only briefly mentioned energy issues. Now, however, as the “green economy” becomes a crucial component of our nation’s future, more and more students are being exposed to energy issues, and will ultimately seek careers in this fast growing industry. The next generation will be expected to manage our limited resources, and create technology that allows us to more efficiently produce and consume energy. So how do we adequately prepare our youth for the challenge of leading our nation towards a more secure, responsible energy nation?
Parents, teachers, community leaders and other youth advocates should work to help students identify opportunities that better prepare them for our upcoming green economy. Here are three ways we can help the next generation get ready for jobs in the energy industry:
Look for energy industry specific scholarships offered by corporations or local community organizations. The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) offer scholarships provided by both national and local chapters. The scholarships were put in place to help increase the number of African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans (underrepresented minorities) in energy related fields.
Take advantage of internships and other programs that introduce students to the energy industry. Each year, Chevron Corporation partners with the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering to host a summer camp for high school students. The Frontiers of Energy Resources Summer Camp offers a preparatory, interactive training program focusing on various energy resources including fossil fuels, solar, biofuel, wind, nuclear energy, and information technologies for energy efficient operations. The program introduces outstanding students to the opportunities and career possibilities available in the global energy resources industry.
Seek out mentors that can provide valuable resources and advice on how to succeed in the energy industry. In an interview with the Black Collegian, Entergy New Orleans President and CEO, Rod West, explained, “I was not shy about reaching out to people who were doing the types of things I thought I might like to do, no matter who they were or where they came from. If you don’t know what those who came before you accomplished, you have very little idea of what you’re capable of achieving.”
Practically every major corporation or national industry organization has some form of mentorship program in place. Students should look for experienced executives and managers who are able to provide guidance and insight to overcoming the many challenges of working in this fast-paced industry.
On November 8, 2010, Black Enterprise and Shell will gather some of the most successful executives in the energy industry to discuss ways we can prepare future generations for jobs in the upcoming green economy. Register now for a chance to attend this exclusive event.