Companies across industries are struggling to find qualified employees, particularly in highly skilled and hands-on jobs. But BGE recognized this issue early and took on the challenge years ago – in ways that have paid off for the company and young area residents.
By partnering with career and technical education high schools (formally known as vo-tech programs) and developing an accompanying internship program the company positioned students to successfully compete for full-time jobs. Since the program’s inception, 34 high school interns have started careers at BGE.
This work also powers the region’s economic health by increasing equity, empowerment and employment opportunities.
This year 45 students joined the company for a six-week paid experience that provides intensive professional development and teambuilding activities, job readiness activities like industry test preparations and driver’s education, and a work-based learning experience alongside BGE’s electric and gas technicians.
Ajaughn Vidal went through the program and after he completed his internship, he earned a full-time position as a Protection Equipment Coordinator at BGE. He said, “It’s a blessing to be here, having this inclusive culture that BGE has to offer. They teach you things you need to have in the workforce. We have personal conversations and telling someone about your experience can really make a change in someone’s life.”
BGE’s partnerships with local schools allows the company to draw from a pool of dedicated, skilled applicants. And the programs are also designed to support other area businesses that are looking for a new generation of skilled employees.
The internship program grew out of the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Developing talent in local schools helps BGE find employees who represent its customer base and can bring with them a broad range of insights: the perspectives of youth and the local community.
Two men who manage the interns, Bobby Mallory and Jermaine Butler, know first-hand how joining BGE at a young age can translate into a life-long career. Mallory said, “I came to BGE right out of high school, and I know a lot of other employees who did the same thing.” To encourage professional development, Mallory said, BGE offers tuition reimbursement for college courses.
Butler, also a Baltimore native, assumed that BGE employments wouldn’t be attainable when he graduated from high school. “I assumed you had to have advanced certificates or specialized training. I had no idea what opportunities were here.” So, he understands the value of BGE’s outreach to schools.
He was 23 when he first applied to BGE, and he has spent the last 16 years moving up through the electric side of the company. Of the interns, he said, “Their success means a lot to me.”
Butler offered a special call-out to the many employees who work with interns every day, either in the automotive shop or in the field. “I can’t thank them enough.
It takes a lot of dedication from the full-time employees to make sure the interns are on the right path. It’s a community effort, and I’m glad we’ve seen so much success out of it.”
It takes a lot of dedication from the full-time employees to make sure the interns are on the right path. It’s a community effort, and I’m glad we’ve seen so much success out of it.— Jermain Butler
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