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Guest BLOG: Southern Company’s STEM Pipeline

February 2, 2012

This is a post in the STEMconnector™ guest blog series, featuring Southern Company.

Southern Company has a long history of promoting and supporting STEM talent development. In 2008, the company formed a Workforce Development Council to address the national and regional shortage of skilled workers and engineers. The council leverages internal and external resources to produce a sustainable pipeline of qualified, diverse applicants for our key positions. Candidates with STEM skills are highly desired for positions ranging from line worker and plant technician to plant operator and engineer.

 

In order to meet its objectives, the council pools resources to implement its “P3” strategy of creating:

  • Career Awareness Programs
  • Talent Pipelines
  • Strategic Partnerships

Emphasis on STEM disciplines is evident in all of the “P3” strategy initiatives.

 

Southern Company is committed to hands-on, project-based learning, and sponsors and participates annually in BEST Robotics, First Robotics and Skills USA events. The company also sponsors camps and events designed to encourage and promote our energy jobs. To date, more than 20,000 students have participated in our career awareness programs. These interactions provide valuable exposure to, and emphasis on, the importance of STEM skills in energy and construction.
Southern Company’s talent-pipeline efforts continue with programs for high school and post-secondary levels. Gulf Power established the Gulf Power Academy in partnership with West Florida High School in Pensacola. This pipeline regularly produces candidates for lineworkers, plant workers and future degreed positions such as engineers and accountants. A school of engineering at Jenkins High School in Savannah, Ga., targets future engineering students. Our generation business unit partners with technical colleges in Mississippi and Georgia and has developed Instrumentation and Control Academies. Southern Nuclear partners with Augusta Technical College in Georgia, and Wallace Community College in Alabama, offering a Nuclear Engineering Technology degree, part of the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program.

 

Southern Company’s partnerships include the Center for Energy Workforce Development, through which Georgia Power and Gulf Power are implementing the Gates Foundation-funded Get into Energy Career Pathways program to prepare low-income youth for energy careers. Members of the council are also highly engaged in state energy workforce development consortia and other state-level, business-driven initiatives – such as STEMFlorida – which are driving STEM talent development.

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