Duke Energy and the Florida Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy hosted 60 high school students at the Youth Energy Academy in St. Petersburg, Fla. This is the fifth year of the summer academy created to interest disadvantaged teens in the energy industry.
During the two-day camp in July, students were able to sit in a BMW electric vehicle and see a demonstration of what happens when something comes in contact with a power line. They also toured the Bartow Power Plant and rode in a transmission bucket truck, which rises 150 feet in the air.
Community groups and partners such as Job Corps of Pinellas County recommend college-bound students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds and an interest in an energy industry career.
Edwidge Bonhomme volunteered at the Academy last year, and that inspired him to begin his career at Duke Energy. He works in Buena Vista, Fla., as a distribution engineer and construction manager, and said he loves working in the energy industry.
“Knowing what it actually takes to provide that power to you,” Bonhomme said. “Is very interesting, and I think younger kids enjoy having that mindset that, ‘Hey, I can do something really cool that’s going to help the world eventually,’ which that’s what it was for me.”