Developed by the Sustainability Initiatives Unit within L.A. Unified’s Facilities Services Division, in partnership with the California Conservation Corps (CCC), the Los Angeles Conservation Corps
(LA CCC) and the District’s Work Experience Education Office, the program trained high school students for entry level positions in the expanding field of energy management.
The special ceremony included congratulatory remarks from Dr. Earl Perkins, L.A. Unified’s Associate Superintendent of District Operations; Mark Hovatter, Chief Facilities Executive; Jose Artiles, Administrator, Work Experience Education Office and Bill McNamara, Director, Energy Program Development, California Conservation Corps.
The honorees comprised the inaugural cohort and included 11 seniors and four juniors. They were: Daniella Addison of Dorsey Senior High; Joshua Catalan, David Duran, and Daniel Osorio, LA School of Global Studies at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex; Vahan Avanesyan and Kimberly Dinh, Marshall Senior High; Miriam Correa, Bravo Senior High Medical Magnet; Encino Garcia, Bell Senior High; Luis Arce, Newmark Continuation High; Erik Hall, City of Angels Independent Studies; Lucio Hernandez, Johnson Community Day School; Alizeah Jackson, Manual Arts Senior High; Jeffrey Montes, STEM Academy at Bernstein Senior High and Jose Solis, Foshay Learning Center. Seven of the seniors will be attending four-year universities, with the other four receiving offers to join the California Conservation Corps to participate in resource conservation efforts throughout the state.
Speaking on behalf of the students, graduating senior Miriam Correa said she found the SEAT program beneficial and plans to incorporate what she learned in her pursuit of becoming a civil engineer, after graduation from Cal State University Los Angeles.
Training for the program involved a rigorous week of orientation, followed by 18 weeks of training, half in the classroom with a District teacher at pre-selected District schools, under the supervision of the CCC and/or LA CCC staff. The classroom component included lessons about types of energy, usage and conservation; equipment safety; HVAC systems, lighting and pre-auditing. Students then went on to practice what they learned at school sites. There, they donned hard hats and safety gear, while taking measurements, surveying lighting systems, climbing ladders, inspecting HVAC systems and developing recommendations for energy improvements in the pre-auditing process.
Complimenting their classroom and practical education was a segment which allowed them to construct energy-related projects, including wind turbines, solar model cars, and home insulation for miniature homes. Additionally, they listened to presentations from experts in the field of energy, who provided real cases to illustrate energy auditing methods and results.
“L.A. Unified is committed to preparing students to be college and career ready,” said Vernail Skaggs, Program and Policy Development Specialist and developer of the SEAT program. “In addition to providing students with an introduction to the field of energy management, time was set aside each week to expose them to soft skills, such as resume and cover letter writing, as well as presentation and interpersonal skills, that will allow them to be successful whether on a college campus or in the work force.”
Luis Arce, a senior at Newmark High School said he learned the value of teamwork while working in the program. “When you are on a job, it is important to work with and get along well with others,” he said. It was also great to be in a program where you were getting paid while learning.” As part of the work experience component, students were paid $10.50 per hour.
“The SEAT program is one of many efforts developed by the Sustainability Initiatives Unit, which is in line with the District’s mission of preparing students for future jobs. This program implements energy improvements by integrating student hands-on learning with curriculum,” said Christos Chrysiliou, Director, Architectural and Engineering Services. Through SEAT, students have made valuable contributions to L.A. Unified as we work to modernize our buildings and implement systems that are the most energy efficient for our schools.”
Under Proposition 39, funds from corporate income taxes are allocated to California’s general fund, which in turn makes annual allocations to California schools for entry-level employment training, creating career pathways for youth and veterans via improved qualifications for energy-related occupations, state-certificated apprenticeship programs and community college career programs and direct job placement.
Contact: Vernail Skaggs (213) 241-3968