A University of Arizona group that recruits future students pursuing engineering fields is getting a boost from Tucson Electric Power – one of many ways our company is helping to establish a strong, future workforce.

The University of Arizona Engineering Ambassadors program trains engineering students to represent the College of Engineering in tours, recruitment events and celebrations. Ambassadors meet with prospective freshmen and transfer students to discuss the college’s degree programs, research, clubs and internship opportunities.

TEP is providing $45,000 over three years to sponsor the program, covering costs associated with training supplies, event fees and uniforms. Without TEP’s funding, the college would be required to pay for the program itself or find other sources.

“The amazingly beautiful thing is that TEP made the commitment for three years. It’s very helpful that we’ve been able to continue the relationship in such a positive way,” said Margie Puerta Edson, Senior Director of Development in Engineering Administration.

The program is part of our company’s commitment to career preparation and education, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), in the community.

By recruiting early for engineering fields, TEP hopes to help fill a need for  highly skilled workers, for the company as well as for other Arizona employers.

“This program is helping build some of the ambassadors’ skills, which will be helpful in their own careers, beyond the impact that they are having on future students,” said Susan Gray, President of TEP and UniSource Energy Services.

Gray, who earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the UA, serves on the college’s Industry Partner Board and has supported the college as a speaker and mentor.

The 59 ambassadors represent a diverse group of talented students from all of the college’s degree programs. After undergoing training, they conduct presentations, lead lab tours, and promote the college at events, including Admitted Student Day, Homecoming and the Dean’s Advisory Board.

“High school students want to see students who look like them. It really is a wonderful incentive and boost for students to see someone who is academically interested as well as successful and outgoing,” Puerta Edson said. “It helps us recruit because they can relate to the students.”

College officials said they are grateful for TEP’s funding, which frees up money for other programs. It also helps them make connections with local businesses.

“There’s a tremendous need for STEM students all across the board. We are helping students see that STEM is an option for them and it’s going to help employers, like TEP, who need to recruit new employees,” Puerta Edson said. “We have to get them here in order to be educated and become engineers.”

The ambassador program is another extension of TEP’s longstanding partnership with the UA, including scholarships for students pursuing utility careers and a plan to provide 100 percent clean energy to campus by the end of 2020.

Read more about TEP’s partnership with the University of Arizona.