Valley Works: Educational partnership providing opportunities

FRESNO, Calif.

Students can earn college credit towards their degree or a certificate.

Edison High School's Green Academy is all about getting students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The reason why?

The more than one million jobs being generated in stem fields over the next ten years.

Lucy Hernandez and her classmate Brianna Gilkey are drawing up plans to create a solar water heater.

In another corner of the room students are busy soldering away.

They are working on their end of the year showcase projects for the green energy technology program offered at Edison High.

The goal: to get more students interested in the field of science, technology, energy and math. It is an area of study that many students just don't choose.

Lucy and Brianna are both sophomores and say they didn't know much about STEM fields or this program.

In an effort to keep student interest high, Edison and Fresno City College offer kids the opportunity to take college courses in the same field while they are still in high school. Instructor Taylor Vizthun says the dual enrollment program offers a lot of benefits to students.

"They get to experience college level courses while they are in an environment where they have the support structure to help them out," Vizthun said.

Students come into the program as sophomores and by the time their seniors some have made the decision, like Edison High Senior Alex Simpson, to become an engineer

"I want to become an engineer, mechanical or electrical," Simpson said.

Or they are like Javonte Hicks who's headed to George Mason University in the fall.

"Green Academy gave me another aspect of science to look at such as production in science how science is used in the production of different things, how science effects our everyday life," Hicks said.

That is the kind of end results educators are hoping for.

Edison high officials stress that this is a cutting edge program made possible by partnerships with Fresno City College and PG &E.

The utility company is pouring a million dollars into the program, and for good reason. Over the next five years 50 percent of its workforce is expected to retire.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.