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Jumpstart career in engineering

David Felty and Brian Heffernan, students at Baker High School, were among 20 scholars from Syracuse-area schools who participated in the competitive "Engineering Pipeline Program" at National Grid.

The program is the centerpiece of the company's global "Engineering Our Future" initiative designed to inspire youth and attract and develop engineers for tomorrow's workforce. Only 50 students across National Grid's U.S. territory were selected to participate in the program.

National Grid's "Engineering Pipeline Program" offers high school and college students the chance to learn more about National Grid and the engineering profession through a structured six-year program. Engineering Pipeline Scholars will gain exposure to the engineering industry through classroom instruction, site visits, research and projects.

"We recognize there is a looming shortage of engineers needed to build the next generation of energy delivery systems, smart grids and other emerging high-tech systems. Increasing the engineering workforce is imperative not only for National Grid, but for our entire industry," said Kathy Lyford, vice president of electric operations for National Grid's central division. "We are very impressed with the work of the Syracuse class, and we look forward to continuing to nurture their interest in engineering over the next six years."

The first step in the "Engineering Pipeline Program" is the one-week "Intro to Engineering Academy," which started Aug. 16 at the National Grid Learning Center in Syracuse. The curriculum includes classroom and hands-on activities on the following topics: introduction to the energy industry, engineering safety, natural gas operations, electric power systems and the future of energy including Smart Grid technology. The scholars will also develop group presentations based on engineering field exploration site visits and deliver the reports during an interactive live meeting with the other learning centers.

Highlights of the Pipeline program include opportunities for paid internships, mentoring and job shadow opportunities and social networking activities. Once accepted into the program, the scholars must maintain a 3.3 GPA in college, pursue an engineering degree and participate in ongoing Pipeline program activities in order to be considered for fast-track employment with National Grid.

National Grid worked with colleges, universities and organizations in the company's service area to identify students to participate in the Pipeline program. Applicants must have completed their junior year of high school, have an average grade of 87, provide evaluations from two teachers and submit a 250-word essay illustrating their desire to learn about engineering.

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