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Investing in the Future: Youth Externship Program Prepares the Next Generation of Energy Leaders

greenhouse call kit

In honor of Earth Month, BayREN is proud to highlight the success of our partner organization, Rising Sun Center for Opportunity (Rising Sun), for cultivating unique opportunities for future climate and energy leaders. Rising Sun’s Climate Careers is an empowerment program that employs young people to provide Green House Calls, energy efficiency services that help residents lower their household energy consumption. Last year, Rising Sun added an externship component to their Climate Careers program that allowed participating youth to gain additional experience in the energy field. Youth who successfully completed Rising Sun’s Climate Careers summer program were matched with up to 140 hours of additional paid work experience with organizations in related fields. Rising Sun partnered with 13 organizations including BayREN, GRID Alternatives, Redwood Energy, the East Oakland Collective, and others, to place 18 youth in externships to develop additional skills and expose them to additional employment pathways.

Hy Ly and Alicia Pang were two youth Energy Specialists who completed their externship programs with Redwood Energy, a collaborative, innovative firm that works closely with development teams on all-electric, 100% solar offset designs. As part of their externship, they worked on a variety of projects, from reviewing and editing content for guidebooks on commercial building retrofitting processes to promoting electrification to developers and recording data for project databases. They also gained knowledge of HVAC systems and the role they play in efficiency and sustainability, as well as the applications of thermodynamics concepts within these systems. Prior to their placement with Redwood Energy, Hy and Alicia were also integral in serving the Bay Area and their hometown communities. Through Green House Calls, and with support from the rest of their cohort in Santa Rosa and San Jose, they were able to help avoid CO2 emissions equivalent to that of driving 223,000 miles in an average passenger vehicle. The cohort helped 411 households and installed over 5,300 energy saving devices, as well as over 1,200 water efficient devices. 

As we celebrate Earth Day 2023, BayREN remains committed to promoting workforce development and supporting initiatives like Rising Sun's Climate Careers Program. By investing in the next generation of green collar workers, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.