At Ed, we know that the work we do cannot be done in isolation: it is only possible through the collective effort of so many partners in Birmingham and the input of our students and teachers. We are constantly amazed by the way our community steps up to improve educational outcomes for our students, and from so many different corners: from the individual level to the group, and from the non-profit sector to major corporate industry.
One such corporate partner is Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company that provides electricity to 1.4 million customers in Alabama. Alabama Power has been a partner to Ed – supporting the Foundation through a consistent presence on the Board of Directors – and a partner to the Academy of Engineering at Carver High School – representing the company on the school’s Advisory Board and regularly engaging with students on BEST Robotics, Alabama Power’s E-Day, and most recently, Bridging the Gap.
The inaugural year of Bridging the Gap at Carver High School included trips to the Alabama and Lyric Theater, Alabama Power Corporate Headquarters, and the E.C. Gaston Steam Plant in Wilsonville, AL. At the Gaston Plant, students heard from chemical and process engineers about the plant’s daily operations and also met operators in the control rooms who explained to students how they monitor the various functions, activities, and outputs in the plant.
Later in the year, students attended the company’s E-Day showcase, a full day event that included presentations from employees in fields ranging from substation engineering to safety/procedures to storm watch. At year’s end, a representative from Alabama Power joined others on a post-secondary panel to talk to students about expectations for the profession and continuing education in the field.
“We are fully invested in the process of preparing Birmingham’s students to be successful in the real word,” says Alabama Power HR Consultant Melissa Hyche. “Similarly, we are committed to making sure that students who are interested in pursing a career in engineering or the related fields are well-prepared to do so.”
Jim Dorsten, Advisory Board member at the Carver Academy of Engineering, says it is the interaction with students that compels him to participate in Academy activities: “Being there when students gain new knowledge about a topic that they are interested in, watching them come up with a vision for their futures, and being a part of that process is worth every effort.”
Alabama Power has a history of investing in local education, as evidenced by programs such as the Brighter Minds initiative, which seeks to give back to our state with a focus on three key areas of education. Additionally, the company is focused on giving students a jump start on developing the skills they need to be successful students by supporting 4-year-olds in high needs communities through preschool programs and engaging students through quality summer learning programs. Alabama Power Company is also putting funds into classrooms and providing schools the support they need to help students learn about stewardship and conservation. The company also recognizes the importance of developing students for careers in the STEM field and is providing scholarships and interactive curriculum to assist students as they pursue this growing area.