We’re working with the communities we serve to make them even better places to work and raise families. One of the ways we do this is by supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives that prepare students for good-paying jobs and provide the technical skills that are highly valued in our business. We support programs for students and teachers at all grade levels.
Increasingly, our employees are seeking volunteer opportunities in which they can leverage their own skills to inspire the next generation of technology-savvy workers.
Robotics is a major focus of our education philanthropy. In addition to supporting 70 robotics teams across Florida, we also partner with the FIRST organization to sponsor regional tournaments in South and Northeast Florida as well as sponsor a science show for about 80,000 grade school students each year. In addition, the company has donated 130 Solar Education Stations to schools and education centers.
We believe students who participate in robotics learn not only engineering and programming skills, but also teamwork, communications and other vital work skills. We’re giving back to our communities while fostering the future workforce we’ll need.
In 2016, FPL awarded its inaugural FIRST Robotics Scholarship to an outstanding student from the company’s service area who has participated on a FIRST robotics team for at least two years and has enrolled in a college program in engineering or information management. The $5,000 scholarship is renewable annually up to a maximum of $20,000.
In addition, FPL helped launch the robotics program for at-risk middle school students through South Florida After-School All-Stars, which celebrates student success and the importance of afterschool programs such as Lights on Afterschool.
Each year, NextEra Energy executives visit William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach County, Florida, to teach graduate-level finance courses to juniors enrolled in the school’s Academy of Finance. During the six-month program, the students are coached in presentation and leadership skills in addition to the financial curriculum.
When the classroom portion of the program ends, the students are split into teams to evaluate the financial feasibility of theoretical wind-driven, electric generating facilities – the kind of work that NextEra Energy employees do every day.
To conclude the program, the student teams present their recommendations to a panel of judges made up of NextEra Energy executives, school district administrators and local finance and engineering professionals. Each student on the winning team receives a $2,000 college scholarship.