“When I came out of school as a petroleum engineer 30 years ago, all you really needed to work in the oils field was a strong back and the skill to turn a wrench,” he said. “Now, our business is high-tech and we need a cadre of scientists and engineers—who are in school today—to create the energy of the future.”
He pointed to three things, by themselves unrelated to energy, that have made what was impossible two decades ago, almost routine; materials science, computer advancers and global satellite positioning technology.
“We have platforms that drill in water 3,000-feet deep. They can’t be anchored, and a four-inch diameter pipe that long is very flexible so it has to remain straight,” he said. “GPS can keep that kind of ship practically motionless in the ocean.”
But getting kids excited about engineering can be tough. The answer is hands-on working experience.
“My interest didn’t peak until I was actually able to interact with people who were actually doing the work,” he said. “That’s why I’m asking leaders in this community to get involved. We need to facilitate employment engagement, create awareness, promote internships and encourage mentoring. Why—because a skilled workforce is critical. Corporate ingenuity depends on it. The talent pool is straining, and it’s the socially responsible thing to do.”
Beth Crow, Citizens Bank vice president and senior manager for public affairs, said last year they took in 10 summer interns, paid them each a $2,000 stipend and plan to do more this year.
“Citizens was committed to providing an experience that went beyond doing menial tasks,” she said. “We tried to expose our interns to a variety of experiences so they could get a sense of what the various aspects of banking are and what the possibilities could be for them.”
Pashman has sent an email to all who attended the kick off event, and other major employers asking for their participation.
“The employment opportunities for young people within Pittsburgh and nationwide have been on the decline. It’s time to bend the curve and open our doors to our future workers,” she wrote. “One way to get involved—host a high school intern this summer through WorkReady Pittsburgh and give young people the workplace experiences they need to learn how to become great employees, entrepreneurs and leaders.”
Rick Adams, executive director of CCAC’s Frieda G. Shapira Learning Center said he expects the college to be involved. Carl Cooper, board chair of the Manchester Academic Charter School wants to get as many of his students internships as possible.
“We’re starting an entrepreneurship institute, so I’m here for our kids,” he said. “Start them early so that the so that they’re job ready.”
For more information on 3RWIB internship and mentoring initiatives, call 412-552-7090 or visit http://www.trwib.org.
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