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VBGCQ Astoria Students Learn from Career Mentors, Demonstrate Drone Flying Skills

ASTORIA, NY – Youth at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens on April 10 joined a mentoring session on drone technology and green energy jobs led by representatives of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Con Edison, and renewable energy company 174 Power Global. Last week, NYPA introduced the students to the unmanned aircraft systems used to monitor and maintain its utility infrastructure and taught them to fly classroom-friendly drones. At this week’s mentoring event, students showcased their new skills operating drones and had a chance to talk with several NYPA drone pilots and other energy professionals.

“As New York State moves closer to achieving its clean energy goals, our young people will find new and rewarding job opportunities in emerging clean energy industries,” said Justin E. Driscoll, NYPA’s president and CEO. “The Power Authority’s annual collaboration with Con Ed and 174 Power Global aims to give children a leg up on the career ladder by exposing them to different disciplines through hands-on activities like flying drones.”

More than 60 students engaged in the mentoring experience, asking questions of the experts in attendance. The annual youth Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and mentorship program follows similar events hosted in prior years that focus on learning about careers in emerging technology within the utility industry.

Costa Constantinides, chief executive officer of the Variety Boys and Girls Club, said, “Having community partners like the New York Power Authority, Con Edison and 174 Power Global, our kids have access and support in the programming that we provide each and every day to allow them to grow into the next scientist, astrophysicist, technologist or anything they want to be. These partners have continued to work with us for over three years now and we look forward to continuing our work with them, for our kids for a very long time.”

Students will have a variety of opportunities to work in STEM fields as demand for jobs in those industries continues to grow. The mentors hoped to inspire students to pursue science and technology-related jobs by sharing their personal experiences.

STEM programming and mentorship have specific importance to Western Queens, where a large percentage of New York City’s power has historically been generated. The career and mentorship program, part of NYPA’s environmental justice efforts, supports an under-resourced community located near the development of the 100-megawatt East River Energy Storage Project.

Con Edison selected 174 Power Global to develop the clean energy project on property owned by NYPA that once housed the former Charles Poletti power plant. The East River Storage Project will have an energy contract with Con Edison and be the largest energy storage system in NYC.

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