Introduction to Energy Basics is a lively six-week online program for high school juniors and seniors. It provides coaching, mentorship and an overview of what it’s like to work in renewable energy and natural gas fields. Alliant Energy and iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates) work together to provide a first step for many Ottumwa-area high school students on a path to success.
Alliant Energy provides technical training for the program, helping students develop skills required for work in energy fields; iJAG identifies and mentors interested students.
Part of iJAG’s focus is on youth impacted by poverty, mental health issues and other personal barriers to academic and work-related achievement.
For each student, iJAG designs an individual development plan and assigns a highly trained educational specialist. Specialists are there every step of the way as students meet potential employers and practice new skills. Students develop professionally and grow as individuals through opportunities like mock interviews and trauma-informed care lessons.
Ninety-seven percent of iJAG participants graduate high school, 7% higher than the statewide average according to the Iowa Department of Education. Nearly 90% of iJAG students transition to college, training programs, pre-apprenticeships, the military or full-time work.
Finishing the Introduction to Energy Basics course qualifies students to apply for a paid summer internship at Alliant Energy.
For one such student, Pee Soe, the internship helped affirm his potential for success. Education Specialist Amber Heckart often told Pee curiosity and life experiences can light the way to success in career and life. Heckart said Pee’s experience as an Alliant Energy intern fueled his motivation and confidence.
“IJAG, its participants and the Ottumwa community at large are very fortunate to have a business such as Alliant Energy that genuinely cares about the early life experiences of local students, supporting them along the pathway to lifelong success,” said Wendy Mihm-Herold, iJAG president and CEO.
As a company committed to youth mentoring and workforce development, Alliant Energy is proud to work with iJAG as it readies Ottumwa high school students for a career in the energy tech field.