The Foundation for Water and Energy Education and host partner Chelan County Public Utility District hope to encourage interest in hydroelectric power through a special summer program at Rocky Reach Dam.
The Hydropower STEM Career Academy — open to students entering grades 9 through 12 in eligible Washington counties — focuses on hydro sector careers that rely on “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and mathematic) skills.
Most importantly, the five-day academy looks to interest and inform attendees about futures in the hydro sector, which will be in significant need of new workers as the current workforce begins to age out in coming years.
“Nationally, one-third of utility employees will retire in the next 10 years,” said Debbie Gallaher, supervisor at the Rocky Reach Visitor Center. “We’d like to show local students the high-quality, good paying jobs that could be part of their future.”
The Foundation for Water and Energy Education (FWEE) said attendees will “explore the physics of producing and distributing hydropower while meeting and doing hands-on activities with mechanical and electrical engineers, plant mechanics and operators, divers and linemen.”
Attendees will also have an opportunity to see firsthand how Chelan County PUD generates power at the 1,300-MW Rocky Reach plant and how it manages its assets along the Columbia River.
The Hydropower STEM Academy is open to students from Washington’s Chelan, Douglas, Grand and Okanogan counties who have maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA through the past academic years.
The event takes place June 20-24. Full details about the academy, its curriculum and more can be found at FWEE.org.