TEP is inviting educators to spend a few days with our employees so they can share what they learn about our business with their students.
In the fall, eight educators came to TEP for a three-day “externship” that included a tour of our facilities and an introduction to our educational outreach programs. We also provided them with energy-related activities for students ranging from elementary through high school.
Externships and other programs are part of TEP’s focus on education, as well as career development and training in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They also help us make local students aware of our craft and trade apprenticeships and other positions that don’t require college paths.
“The externship is an excellent way to share our career opportunities with educators, who in turn will share the information with their students,” said Joanne Kingman, Transmission & Distribution Training Supervisor, whose team hosted the externship. “Our goal is to create a diverse talent pipeline for the skilled trades and to conduct early outreach within the local community.”
For this externship, TEP partnered with the Center for the Future of Arizona to compensate the teachers for their time. Representatives also attended from Goodwill of Southern Arizona’s training programs for young adults. The next externships will be hosted during school breaks in the spring, summer and fall.
David Ramirez, the Automotive Technology teacher at Sunnyside High School, said his program teaches students about electrical circuits, which is helpful for roles at TEP and other local employers.
“I want to provide students with more options in the industry,” Ramirez said. “I know TEP is a good company to work for and they really do a lot for the community. Anything you can do to help a student get to the next level and get a good career – that’s what it is all about.”
Gary Crist, a Welding and Agriscience teacher at Amphitheater High School, made a slideshow for his welding students to show them what he learned.
“They loved watching it and they had a ton of questions. It was an outstanding experience,” Crist said. “Kids need opportunities to get into a good career with a very good starting salary. College is great – I went to college. But it’s not for everybody.”
Other TEP outreach initiatives include Teachers in Industry, which provides a few local teachers with summer jobs at TEP, as well as interactive displays at the Southern Arizona Construction Career Days and outreach with Pima Community College.
Kingman said she appreciates that TEP tries to educate the community about career opportunities, which include on-the-job training, because those seeds need to be planted early.
That’s happening in Carrie Moline’s classroom at Warren Elementary.
“I cannot quit raving about the cohesiveness of everyone there, how clean the facility is, and for opening my eyes to the trades versus college,” Moline said after the event. “I no longer just talk about going to college with my fifth graders. I talk about how trades are just as important and how TEP could be an option for them when they enter the job force.”