LOS ANGELES — Over 50 female students from Esteban Torres High School, Los Angeles Technical Trade College (LATTC) and California State University Northridge (CSUN) were introduced to the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers at the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles as part of the STEM N’ Sustainability program’s inaugural event.
Started in September, the STEM N’ Sustainability program is a joint effort by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LATTC, CSUN and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to expose high school- and college-aged women students to STEM job opportunities available in the utility sector. The college students act as mentors to the younger students as each group works toward developing an education pathway toward careers in the utility industry.
“Careers in science and technology are rapidly growing but women make up less than a quarter of the STEM-related workforce,” LADWP’s Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer Nancy Sutley said. “Through our STEM N’ Sustainability program, LADWP aims to reduce this employment gap by providing job training and education to the next generation of Angeleno utility workers – young women.”
“The Los Angeles Unified School District is very excited about our partnership with DWP, LATTC and CSUN. This partnership will allow our students to discover the important aspects of STEM as they start making their college and career decisions in the upcoming months,” LAUSD Work Experience Education Administrator Jose Artiles said
“The STEM N’ Sustainability program provides CSUN students with the opportunity to be exposed to successful female professionals in STEM-related industry, mentor other young women and allows them to engage in a hands-on real-world internship experience. These activities provide a unique and exceptional opportunity they would not be able to obtain elsewhere.”
During the program’s inaugural meeting hosted by LADWP and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), the students were invited to hear speakers from a variety of organizations and businesses about the benefits of beginning a career in STEM. Speakers included representatives from LADWP, LACI, Casavan Consulting, Avisare and CicLAvia. The young women also took a tour of the La Kretz Innovation Center, including the Advanced Prototyping Center where the LACI companies’ latest STEM-related inventions are being developed for worldwide use.
“The STEM N’ Sustainability program is playing an important role in helping to educate young women about opportunities available in the cleantech sector,” stated Estelle Reyes, LACI Director of Community Engagement. “The program aligns perfectly with LACI’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and supports our efforts to bridge the gap and improve the participation rates of women in cleantech.”
Through the program, participants receive presentations about career paths, options to meet eligibility requirements for non-traditional careers within the utility industry and the required education, skills and competencies for entry level positions. Additionally the students have the ability to interact with many employees who currently hold non-traditional jobs that have historically been held by men only.
As the program progresses, participants will continue to explore the world of STEM with future field trips which will include visits to Southern California Edison (SCE), Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and LADWP’s Scattergood Generation Plant. This summer, the students will participate in a paid project-based Learning project which will include an internship at a STEM related facility.
For more information on this event and/or the program, please contact José Artiles, LAUSD’s Work Experience Education Administrator, at (213) 241-7053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.