Avista launches inaugural Energy Pathways summer program

Avista providing Energy Pathways for students to explore career opportunities in the energy industry

Written by Avista's Communications team

It can be daunting for many students to know what direction to take after high school graduation. Recently, seventeen Spokane-area rising high school juniors and seniors had the opportunity to discover what a career in the energy field can offer through hands-on experience and job shadowing at Avista.

This inaugural month-long program, called Energy Pathways, allowed students to “try on” this career path in the fields of alternative and emerging energy, including wind, solar and battery technologies; energy efficiency and sustainability; engineering; and maintenance and operations of the energy system. At the end of the program, the participating students also received a Career and Technical Education (CTE) class credit.

“The changing utility industry and a wave of retirements are creating opportunities for good paying skilled jobs that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree. Our goal for Energy Pathways is to provide participating high school students with career connected learning,” said Karen Feltes, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Avista.

Avista’s Energy Pathways student experience aligns with Washington State’s Career Connect Washington initiative announced by Governor Jay Inslee in May 2017. The goal of the initiative is to connect 100,000 Washington students over five years with career-connected learning opportunities preparing them for high-demand, high-wage jobs. Governor Inslee even came to visit Energy Pathways during the last week of the program!

“Avista is leading the way in Career Connected Learning and are sharing how they are supporting career exploration with other utilities,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “Avista’s curriculum can be the basis for Washington utilities to grow their own individualized programs and their efforts align with our goals to help students understand the bright possibilities and futures in energy distribution, technology and management.”

What did the students have to say about their experience? Rising junior Roka Brovisk discovered, “I originally wanted to do something in engineering and I wasn’t quite sure about energy. But after doing this, I’m definitely interested in something in the energy field.”

Governor Jay Inslee with the Energy Pathways team 

Energy Pathways student learning

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