Educated and Equipped: Motivating Today’s Youth to Become Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Leaders

By Stephanie von Numers

Students participate in the Junior Solar Sprint and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Competition at Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton, CO, on May 21, 2011. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder)

Department of Energy joins the push to promote STEM education

The following post was submitted by our friends at the Department of Energy. The Corporation for National and Community Service is proud to support federal agencies as they join us in the effort to promote STEM education initiatives across the nation.

Ensuring students know the basics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is one of the keys to moving our clean energy economy forward.

STEM-literate workers are the engineers who design solar panels and wind turbines. They are the computer programmers who develop software to solve problems and help increase the energy efficiency of buildings and industrial plants. Chemists create enhanced materials, while statisticians spot energy consumption trends and predict future peak demand. And it all starts with teaching STEM topics to students.

Using a multitude of resources—videos, lesson plans, competitions, web and social media, and hands-on activities—the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) promotes and encourages STEM, as highlighted below:

  • National Science Bowl ®– Hosted by DOE’s Office of Science, this annual competition tests middle and high school students on their math and science knowledge and problem-solving abilities.
  • Student Competitions –The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) leads several student competitions at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels, engaging students in clean energy topics such as solar power, wind power, and hybrid vehicles.
  • Explore Careers – EERE’s Education and Workforce Development website highlights information about the types of jobs, training, and future outlook of different clean energy sectors. View the Solar Career Map for examples of career pathways in the solar industry.
  • Women @ Energy – This series showcases talented women who work at DOE and the national laboratories, offering insights into what inspired them to pursue—and stick with—STEM careers.
  • Minorities in Energy Initiative – This initiative led by the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) aims to connect diverse stakeholders in an effort to increase opportunities for minorities in the energy sector. Find more STEM opportunities on ED’s website.
  • Energy Literacy Framework (ELF) – DOE led the development of the ELF, a multidisciplinary framework providing energy concepts that, if understood and applied, will help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions. ELF is endorsed by 13 federal agencies, was peer-reviewed by educators, and is being used for energy education across the country. The framework is also available in Spanish: Conocimiento de Energía.
  • Teach and Learn – EERE’s education website helps you teach your students the importance of energy while enhancing your required curriculum with standards-aligned content. Here you’ll find many creative lesson plans, labs, projects, videos, and other energy-related activities for grades K-12.

The nation’s youth form the foundation for tomorrow’s workforce. Our task is to inspire their passion in the STEM fields and guide our bright and increasingly diverse student base to pursue career paths that can improve our lives and preserve the environment.

To learn more, engage with the Department of Energy on social media via #energyliteracy and #STEM, or visit us at our website

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