The autumnal equinox has officially marked our passing from summer. If you haven’t been keeping up with your celestial calendar, the fall foliage, cooling temperatures and steady dosing of pumpkin spice lattes bring ever-clearer signals of our transition. Whatever you did this summer — electric road trips, beaches, pools, live music, national parks — we hope you enjoyed it.
One thing our team did? Took on summer school. We packed our bags to help showcase the many career pathways that exist — and will be desperately needed — in North Carolina for the transition to transportation electrification.
With support from Duke Energy, we teamed up with the NC Department of Environmental Quality and Rhonda High of Nash Community College to assist with the STEPs4GROWTH Pre-Apprenticeship program. We’ve written about STEPs4GROWTH before, with its goal to build North Carolina’s clean energy workforce. The Pre-Apprenticeship program engages with high school and post-high school aged young people to share the benefits of and opportunities for working in North Carolina’s clean energy and manufacturing sectors.
This year, 29 students enrolled throughout three campuses — Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson community colleges. They obtained:
- Career readiness credentialing
- OSHA 10 certification
- Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification
- Soft skills guidance
For exposure to the industry and skills for clean energy manufacturing and electric vehicles (EVs), the students received 80 hours of on-the-job training and expert industry workshops covering topics such as EV charging, automotive maintenance and electrical wiring. As a bonus, they got to speak with the president of the United States about the program. We encourage you to read the STEPs4GROWTH Summer Magazine for more details.
With summer school in the books, some students are returning for a final year of high school, while graduates are setting out for gainful employment in the clean energy space, where they’ll be sure to bring quality work to communities across the state. As the students move on to bright futures, the program will foster the next wave of clean energy champions. While the EV Pre-Apprenticeship program will not be offered this fall, classes are scheduled to resume in the spring at the three community colleges for current and traditional students, and will continue in the summer for high schoolers.