Fifty economically disadvantaged high school freshmen from throughout Chicagoland have begun a five-month seminar that will introduce them to the fundamentals of energy, smart city technologies, and sustainability and help put them on the path toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
Sponsored by ComEd and the HFS Chicago Scholars, the program includes five workshops and an immersive project-based experience with professional engineer mentors. Students will learn and apply the fundamentals of microprocessor-based technology and participate in a team project presentation on June 2, 2019, that will award $4,000 in scholarships among the top three finishers.
The program is being offered exclusively to students in the HFS Scholars program, which helps economically disadvantaged students attend top Chicago private high schools. The program will be offered to HFS Scholars in each of their four years of high school.
“The need today for STEM skills is exceeded only by unprecedented levels of opportunity for those who have them,” said Michael Kennelly, founder of HFS Chicago Scholars, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. “This unique program will give HFS Scholars a good look inside the exciting future of energy, one of the strongest among STEM sectors, and show them how to become part of it.”
Classes will be held at ComEd’s Chicago Training Center in the Bridgeport neighborhood. The curriculum, developed by ComEd engineers, begins with the fundamentals of electricity and progresses to sensor-based technologies, such as smart streetlights, traffic management systems, air quality monitoring and other innovations that contribute to healthy, economically strong and sustainable communities.
“Our business will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 100, and that means a lot of exciting things for our communities and for a new generation of talent with STEM skills,” said Terence R. Donnelly, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. “As an active community employer, we’re excited to partner with HFS Scholars and look forward to engaging students in a learning experience that could change the rest of their lives.”
The program is part of ComEd’s Community of the Future in Bronzeville, a collaboration with residents to address community challenges using smart grid technology and engaging area youth in STEM education. ComEd recently launch- ed the Dunbar Energy Academy at Dunbar Vocational High School to make the science of energy a key part of students’ four-year learning experience and prepare them for job opportunities. Last year, the company launched its first ever Ideathon, which is open to all high school students in the Bronzeville area.