Dozens of young people who grew up along “Asthma Alley” in western Queens joined a recent speed mentoring session at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens in Astoria that focused on environmental careers.
The youngsters learned about electrified transportation and green energy jobs from representatives from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Con Edison and 174 Power Global, a renewable energy company that also presented a $15,000 check to the club to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.
“As we prepare to expand our programming and develop a new state-of-the-art building, it means a lot to have community partners like NYPA, Con Edison and 174 Power Global demonstrating continued support for the club and our students,” Variety Boys & Girls Club CEO Costa Constantinides said. “I look forward to continuing to work with these partners to provide STEM programming to youth in the local community to introduce them to opportunities in building a strong workforce to support the green transition.”
Students presented the model electric vehicles they recently built with instruction from NYPA staff and asked experts from each of the three partners questions. NYPA also showcased a Kia EV6 and Chevrolet Bolt to the kids.
“New York state is transitioning to a clean energy economy and committing to innovative solutions and the development of a skilled workforce,” NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin Driscoll said. “It’s vital that we cultivate our future clean energy leaders and help them learn about promising careers in environmental space. The next generation will be continuing the battle against climate change, helping to further reduce carbon emissions and working to make New Yorker’s lives better.”
Western Queens is known as Asthma Alley due to the high rates of respiratory ailments due to power plants in Long Island City and Astoria that produce over 50% of the entire city’s electricity. The mentors hope to inspire the students to pursue green careers in science and technology-related jobs.
“Exercises like building electronic vehicle models bring emerging technologies to life and help students learn about sustainable issues such as zero-emissions transportation and energy and storage in a fun and personally meaningful way,” said Lisa Payne Wansley, vice president of NYPA’s Environmental Justice program. “We hope we’re encouraging these students to learn about New York’s clean energy field.”
Richard David, Con Edison’s director of Regional and Community Affairs in Queens, said it’s essential to train and educate the youth about the role they can play in creating a green energy future.
“We are optimistic that this event inspired enthusiasm, interest and curiosity in the youths who participated and got the experience from our company, NYPA and 174 Power Global.”
Con Edison selected 174 Power Global to develop the East River Energy Storage Project being built at the Astoria Energy Campus. The 100-megawatt project, enough to power the World Trade Center for a day, will be the largest energy storage system in the city on property owned by NYPA that once housed the old Charles Poletti power plant.
“Developing one of the first utility-scale 100MW energy storage projects in the states is a privilege that comes with a responsibility to the surrounding community, and 174 Power Global is committed to providing green economy jobs to the local community, in particular at a location that is close to our energy storage project,” 174 Power Global CEO Dr. Henry Yun said. “We are pleased to play a part in inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals by supporting the great work of the Boys and Girls Club on Queens in STEM education.”