Future workforce: Equals Energy, AC Electric training next generation through internship program

How’s this for helping to develop the next generation of energy employees.

Equals Energy, a Camden-based solar development company, along with its affiliate, Community Solar Circle, is hosting two Camden youth for a summer career exploration program in partnership with Exelon Corporation through the Spark Internship Program.

Stephen Renz, Director of Operations at Equals Energy, said the initiative came together after he met Rachele Dorsey, Workforce Development Manager for Pepco Holdings (the parent company of Atlantic City Electric) at a Southern New Jersey Development Council seminar called: “Building South Jersey’s Workforce.”

Dorsey was giving a presentation about Atlantic City Electric’s Infrastructure Program and the associated Spark Internship Program.

The Atlantic City Infrastructure Program provides utility training and work readiness skills to underserved community members in the Atlantic City area while the Spark Internship Program provides paid work experience and work-readiness education to South Jersey high school students and young professionals.

Inspired by Dorsey’s presentation, Renz approached her to see if Equals Energy could help with the program in any way. Dorsey informed Renz that she needed a host organization for two students in the Spark Internship Program who were interested in the solar industry and Renz committed to hosting two students.

Shortly before the internship was set to begin, one of the students dropped out of the program so Equals Energy collaborated with their Market Street neighbor, Hopeworks, to offer the position to one of their alumni.

Officials at Hopeworks, a local nonprofit, said they focus on “skill development, real-world job experience, and trauma-informed care to propel young adults into long-term living wage careers that put them on the path for healing and financial stability.”

Renz was hooked.

“It is wonderful working with Hopeworks,” he said. “An alumnus built the website for Equals Energy, and we have had several discussions with them about hiring Hopeworks alumni when we are ready to take on additional employees. We want to support their mission in any way possible and hope to create a future pipeline to offer professional, sustainable, green energy jobs to the young professionals of Camden.”