Community College & Precollege

PowerAmerica works almost exclusively with community colleges through its collaborations with both NSF ATE and NIST MEP Centers. In addition, PowerAmerica offers a two-day Summer Institute for community college instructors. At the Summer Institute, the instructors are exposed to the latest research in power electronics, attend seminars, tour companies and facilities, and perform hands-on activities. The Summer Institute is free of charge and a stipend is provided.

In addition to meeting the immediate and near-term workforce needs of PowerAmerica’s industry members, PowerAmerica has established a Precollege Educational Program that will serve both teachers and youths in order to meet industry’s long-term workforce needs. We are also working to provide career information about the growing opportunities in power electronics and advanced innovative manufacturing.

Over the next five years, almost half of engineers [and technicians] in electric utilities will be eligible for retirement or could leave engineering for other reasons. If they are replaced, then there would be a need for over 21,000 power engineers to satisfy needs of the entire economy (US Power and Energy Engineering Workforce Collaborative).

Goals for Precollege Education

  • Make youth aware of career opportunities in power electronics.
  • Help future workers understand what skills and knowledge will be needed to enter a career in power electronics.
  • Enhance interest in future careers in power electronics.
  • Recruit the next cohort of undergraduate engineers and power electronic technicians.
  • Develop awareness, knowledge and skills so that future workers can take advantage of advancements in power electronics technologies.
  • Educate students, teachers, and the public about the energy savings that wide bandgap technologies can bring to our economy.

Precollege Events & Activities

PowerAmerica Summer Teacher Institute: Teachers explore ways to teach about energy and electronics, share new strategies and lessons, perform hands-on exploration of new science kits, and visit companies and research laboratories.

Teacher Workshops: Participating in these events, PowerAmerica’s EWD is able to forge collaborations with engineers and educators to share cutting-edge research and new strategies for teaching power electronics. These workshops occur at state and national conferences.

Student Awards for Excellence in Research: Each year, middle and high school students are honored for research that examines an area of energy, power, or electronics through science fair awards. PowerAmerica participates in some of these events at a local level, but encourages its affiliate universities to do so as well, if possible.

Laboratory Tours and Researcher Presentations: Schools and teachers can request PowerAmerica for special laboratory tours or guest speakers for their career days and special engineering career exploration events.

NanoDays: PowerAmerica and NC State University partner to sponsor NanoDays. This event attracts over 3,000 teachers, students, and parents to campus to learn about new nanotechnologies and their impact on clean energy and electronics of the future.

Innovative Instruction and Educational Materials: PowerAmerica’s EWD Team is working with nationally-known STEM educators on the design and prototyping of new instructional materials to teach about advancements in power electronics and career pathways that can open for students.

Energy Expo: Working with the faculty and students from NC State University, children build a doorbell, construct a solar car, and test various household appliances for their energy efficiency. This event is done in partnership with North Carolina’s famous Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Exploring Careers in Energy, Power Electronics, & Semiconductor Technologies

Fun fact: The average pay for electrical and electronics engineers is $95,230 per year and there are over 316,000 jobs nationwide.

How to become an electrical or electronics engineer At this website, you will find out what you can major in, what interpersonal skills you need, and your opportunities for future advancement.

The Life of An Electrical Engineer! – Watch the video to learn more about careers in electrical engineering and how they make our world function safely and efficiently.

Your Career as an Electrical Engineer – Watch the video to learn what electrical engineers do and how they contribute to solving problems.

Power Electronics Isn’t Just About Electrical Read about the career of Joe Sarokhan, a mechanical and aerospace engineer who is senior electrical engineer at Ocean Power Technologies, and learn about the challenges and opportunities in power electronics.

Precollege Teacher Resources

U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Includes a teacher toolbox with lesson plans, videos and basic energy information.

U.S. DOE Office of Fossil Energy – Includes a toolkit for teachers and parents about fossil fuels.

Kappa Delta Pi includes resources for teaching sustainable development.

Try Engineering: Includes 15 lesson plans focused on energy, as well as many other topics.

Clean Line Energy: Contains resources such as informational booklets, activities and games focused on renewable energy and transmission of electricity.

K-5: This app lets students experience battery power, hydroelectric generators, thermal power generators, and solar panels through exploration.

“How to Make Electricity” – App by Crayon Box;

6-12: This is a game by Duke Energy to try to meet the energy demand of 2050 and reduce Duke Energy’s carbon footprint.

9-12: These videos by Spark101 were made by industry professionals and include industry developed materials and educator materials.