The workforce wants clean, green jobs that address climate change and have positive benefits for society. We see this anecdotally when we work with youth, but the data bears it out, as well. Especially if you’re hoping to attract young people, people of color and women: they are not only more likely to be affected by a changing climate, but are also more concerned. We also know that we need more tradespeople to reach our future energy goals.

This is one reason why the VT and NH Energy Education Program works with kids and teachers to bring hands-on and real-world, project-based learning into classrooms. We want students to gain important skills and understanding around energy and climate at an early age. Through our programs, youth and teachers gain:

    • Science and technical knowledge and skills
    • Transferable leadership skills and experience
    • Connections to professionals in the field and other changemakers in their communities
    • Understanding of why the work matters for people, planet & prosperity
    • Support from other youth and educators
    • Awareness and interest in green energy career opportunities and appreciation for the trades

Upcoming Programs of Note:

For Teachers: Summer Institute, August 7-11 Albany, NH (video).

We have taken inspiration from Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, applying her work to education: We think young people should spend as many minutes of every day as possible at the intersection of what brings them joy, what they need to learn, and what needs doing in the world. If youth spend their school time involved in projects that serve the community (rather than remaining separated from it), we can empower a generation of joyful changemakers who will have skills, knowledge, and practice implementing ‘real world’ projects when they graduate, and feel good about the work they are choosing to do. Here are some examples:

Open to all educators of any subject or grade level looking to do real-world climate/energy action projects. We’ll gather at the World Fellowship Center on a lake in the White Mountains: a perfect place to step back, plan, and return to the new school year with fresh ideas and strategies.

Graduate credit is available as an option, and scholarships are available for VT and NH teachers.

For Youth: Youth Climate Leaders Academy

We support NH and VT High School students who want to take climate or energy action. This support includes two events:

  • Pick A Project Day: September 29, 2024 at the Harris Center in Hancock, NH
  • Project Launch: Dec 1-2, 2024 in Fairlee, VT-  An overnight retreat led by Youth Fellows which offers a deep dive into planning and project implementation.

YCLA provides amazing opportunities for young people to network with each other, to learn transferable skills (How do you run a meeting? Write a budget? etc), and to meet with professionals in energy and climate fields to figure out how to move forward with their projects.

What Can You Do?

  • Spread the word or sponsor our programs. Tell at least one great teacher or motivated young person about the opportunities available through VEEP/NHEEP.
  • Connect with teachers, students and sustainability clubs, perhaps even as a professional consultant for a youth action team.
  • Green your business, perhaps even look into B Corps Certification, to attract youth looking for more than a “job.”

The more teachers and students who are practicing applicable skills in the classroom, and connecting the possibility of a greener future with a career in the trades, the better off we all are!

Written by Aubrey Nelson, NHEEP / VEEP
Energy Educator & Action Project Advisor