We want high school students to explore energy sector careers.
- ISEIF + Chicago Learning Exchange
Energy companies are seeking new, diverse workers to build the future of electrical grids.
CLX, LRNG.org, ISEIF, CTE at CPS
A project-based workforce apprenticeship program with on-line content and digital badging. Learn more at LRNG.org
The energy sector. It’s fast growing and rapidly changing. Right now, energy companies are seeking new, diverse workers to build the grids of the future.
In 2018-2019, Mumkin Studio led learning experience design in an innovative partnership: Energizing Opportunities. Our shared goal was to create an engaging pathway towards energy sector employment. We partnered with connected learning leaders and energy sector innovators to create on-line and off-line curriculum for a scalable teen apprenticeship program.
We began with consulting expert trainers at energy utility companies. We adapted their real-world, pro-level training into fun team challenges for teens in the neighborhood. These students learned to inspect utility poles and report their data.
A maker-space...it’s a place where learners tinker and try out solutions to real challenges. In this activity, teen teams ideate and design a model dream school, and then add circuits and sustainable energy sources. They learn the physics of energy along the way!
“In school...they give you instructions and you have to follow every single thing. Here, you’re given a basis of what you have to do, and then it’s your thing all the way through. For the Dream School, we designed what we wanted. All [the instructor] said was ‘Okay, now it has to run on renewable energy.’ We got to put our own thoughts into our school.”
From the web to the schoolyard, career pathways are about adventure and curiosity. We created educational videos that highlight the expertise of diverse lineworkers. Learners take on new challenges through engaging activities. The Electrical Grid Scavenger Hunt teaches target vocabulary through a fun city walk.
Learning achievements unlock new possibilities. Our team created playful brand assets that helped students to track their progress and share their accomplishments.
Tough challenges build soft skills. Expert engineers and lineworkers told us that energy careers require hard work and great communication skills. Daily team workouts and equipment rigging games taught both.
Outlier Research and Evaluation (U Chicago) conducted an extensive program evaluation of Energizing Opportunities. Their reports revealed high-levels of youth engagement...and a new model for teen engagement in utility careers.
Youth highlighted their excitement about teamwork challenges, clean energy possibilities, and an exposure to lucrative career paths that might criss-cross the trades and college.
“I think [Energizing Opportunities] is awesome! It needs to be done again, and again, and again...We have the overhead electrical line workers for ComEd...what about the people that work for the water department, what about the people that work street sanitation, what about construction? This is something that needs to be bottled and [replicated] multiple times in multiple fields. I think it's awesome…[We] need to keep doing it. It's an amazing program. The curriculum is great. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our [CPS] students.”
- Kye-Anne Wilborn, leader of the Chicago Public Schools Career and Technical Education division.