SMART Academy Centers of Excellence Teach Metro Atlanta Youth about Energy
This fall, a good idea got even better for students living in the metro Atlanta area, and for the energy companies that may one day employ them.
For the past five years, Toney Elementary School in Decatur has provided a Saturday program for students interested in learning more about math, reading and science and how these subjects apply to the energy field. This highly successful program, co-founded by Garry Harris of HTS Enterprises and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, has now been adopted by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA). It will also soon be introduced into technology-focused high schools in the Atlanta Public Schools system.
Known as the SMART Academy, the program exposes youth to the mathematical and scientific principles needed for careers in energy and the environment, through practical classroom and field exercises. SMART (Science, Math, Academic Reinforcement Tutorial) is the brainchild of Harris, who has made community service a top priority for himself and for HTS Enterprises, a multi faceted energy consultancy (including nuclear).
Harris created the Southeast Energy Education Initiative (SEEI), a division of HTS Enterprises, to provide energy educational programs and support in response to the need – primarily in the Southeast – for workforce development programs and opportunities for underserved minority populations. The SMART Academy Centers of Excellence are one way in which SEEI attempts to meet the energy industry’s labor needs in this region while also serving the needs of underserved minorities. Currently six Centers of Excellence are planned in the Atlanta area.
“The SMART Academy will greatly enhance our capacity to meet our fundamental goals of providing youth with programs that meet our education and employability objectives, through energy and environmental-based curriculum and projects focused on the vitally important areas of math and science,” said Harris.
“In addition, we are partnering with local colleges and with national organizations, such as the American Welding Society (AWS) and Welding Services Inc., to provide skilled worker training in critical areas such as welding and construction,” he said.
Other features of the program include program mentoring, coaching and resources provided by college faculty associated with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Minority Serving Institution Program.
The Samuel L. Jones Boys and Girls Club in Decatur will be the first to launch a SMART Academy this month, with Boys and Girls clubs across the metro area expected to jump aboard shortly thereafter. In all, the BGCMA has 25 facilities serving 25,000-30,000 youth in the Atlanta area who will eventually have access to these programs.
Meanwhile, Toney Elementary, where it all got started, enters its sixth year offering SMART programs to youth. The program, supported by the American Nuclear Society, has received congressional recognition from U.S. Representative Denise Majette and enjoyed national exposure when featured in USA Today. The school, which has a 100 percent African American population and serves primarily disadvantaged children, has enjoyed significantly higher standardized test scores and increasing student participation since the program began.
SEEI has also been recognized for its efforts to enhance engineering programs at minority-serving institutions through scholarships and other educational opportunities.
According to Harris, “While I am very proud of our past accomplishments, the near future looks even better! We have created Centers of Excellence that will inspire generation-changing benefits for the entire energy industry and change the lives of thousands of youth in a positive way.”
HTS Enterprise, LLC, established in 1998 as a nuclear engineering consultancy, now has four business divisions: HTS Energy, providing engineering consulting and technical support; Southeast Energy Education Initiative, providing energy educational programs and support; Institute for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, concentrating on energy consulting, advocacy or public policy and analysis; and Energy Horizons Materials Evaluation and Research Center, dedicated to fostering energy-based research and technology innovation. For more information, please contact Garry Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has secured an impressive line-up of educational sessions and workshops for its Annual Convention and Career Tech Expo, December 13-15 in Las Vegas.
With 28,000 members – including career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs – ACTE is the largest national education association preparing youth and adults for successful careers. Members are involved in programs at the secondary, post-secondary and adult education levels.
This year, ACTE has partnered with nearly a dozen content experts to bring career and technical educators the most comprehensive professional development event to date. Those partners include High Schools That Work, Project Lead The Way, MarkED and the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
In addition to more than 200 concurrent sessions, ACTE will have two pre-Convention Workshops focused on Career Clusters and one on marketing education. For the first time, the Association will also be sponsoring a tour of a brand-new career and technical school in Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, attendees will hear from educator and author Ruby Payne, United States Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simon, and educator and adventurer Erik Weihenmayer. As a little preview, ACTE recently recorded a podcast with Weihenmayer (Click here to listen.). These General Session speakers are sure to get all attendees thinking about what they do in the classroom and inspired to continue their efforts.
This year, the conference will feature a special session on “Partnering with the Energy Industry”. Tying to the theme of Connecting Education & Careers, Ann Randazzo, director of the Center for Energy Workforce Development, will discuss why the energy industry is an indispensable partner for career and technical education.
Registration for this event is currently open and all career and technical educators are encouraged to attend. More information can be found at www.acteonline.org/convention. See you in Las Vegas!
Hiring Military Veterans
Having trouble finding skilled craftsmen? One of the best places to look is the U.S. Armed Forces.
Roughly 200,000 service members leave the military in search of civilian jobs each year. But the pool of potential hires runs even deeper than that: Hundreds of thousands of reservists, Guardsmen and veterans also possess the skills, training and experience often needed for energy careers. And, the military will often pay to relocate these well-educated, self-disciplined and highly skilled workers, making them highly desirable job candidates.
Companies looking for tips on how to tap into this attractive workforce resource can find them at CEWD’s most recent addition to its website, http://www.cewd.org/military_main.asp. Here you’ll find case studies from companies with successful military recruiting programs, more reasons to hire those with military experience and a list of military career fairs in your region.
Get Into Energy is a monthly e-mail newsletter for CEWD members. To change your e-mail address for this newsletter or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact email@example.com. For information on membership, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit CEWD on the web at www.cewd.org.