PPL’s Walbert Learning Center in Allentown was abuzz on March 23 with the excitement of 90 ninth-graders learning about careers in the energy industry.
Customer Services Vice President Chris Cardenas welcomed the students by explaining that PPL is working to build a smarter power grid, integrating new technology to better serve customers.
“It takes a lot of people – in many different fields – to make this happen,” Cardenas said in his welcoming remarks. “You’ll be hearing from some of them today and learn how we are all working together to become the next generation energy provider.”
As part of PPL’s future workforce outreach, the event introduced students to careers in finance and engineering, as well as technical positions, such as lineworkers and foremen. About 20 PPL volunteers participated in the event.
The students from Building 21, the newest high school in the Allentown School District, also learned about internship opportunities and the importance of exploring career options early.
“Our focus is getting our students exposed to career opportunities and post-secondary education and allowing them to discover something that they are passionate about and may want to pursue in the future,” said Assistant School Leader Jose Rosado.
In addition to touring the lineworker training yard, students got under the hood of one of PPL’s Chevy Volts and learned about research on electric vehicles, watched videos of the utility’s drones in action and witnessed the threat of cyber security attacks in real-time.
“You are very passionate about your jobs at PPL,” said Jayden Rodriguez, ninth grader. “I saw a sign that stated when you do something you like, you don’t work a day in your life. I will live up to that when I grow up.”
Building 21 is an innovative high school that provides students with experiences to explore various career opportunities. Students have visited emergency rooms and operating rooms of local hospitals, worked on websites and videos for local ad agencies and visited local manufactures to learn about engineering.
PPL is a founding supporter of the school, providing major grants to fund the school’s initial building renovations and technology needs, including the laptops for the 11 teachers and 150 students.