Money might not grow on trees for students in higher education who struggle with paying their tuition. But if you have a goal to pursue a career in energy services, public power, or the power industry, and you have an impressive application, the money tree would be called Silicon Valley Power. Last year, Silicon Valley Power’s Scholarship Award Program awarded three $5,000 scholarships to college and college-bound students as well as two $2,000 grants to technical school students.
Between now and April 30, Silicon Valley Power is accepting applications for its 2014-2015 Scholarship Award Program, which will offer similar financial assistance to qualifying college or college-bound students and technical school students. In the last eight years, this program has awarded $137,000 in scholarship and grant money.
“Employees of the utility industry are aging and retiring, and at the same time, the industry is going through significant changes,” says Larry Owens, manager of customer services at Silicon Valley Power. “One change is the acquisition of renewable power, especially in California. There’s also the modernization of the power grid from the mechanical systems to the microprocessor based systems. Those are two examples of the industry changes that are creating more jobs for the utility industry. So the scholarship program is intended to help supply the new work force with tuition so they can later meet the needs of our industry.”
Former scholarship recipients have been excelling in the industry. One scholarship recipient in 2011, Mark Wagner, is a recent graduate of Santa Clara University and a graduate student in mechanical engineering. He is currently studying about solar powered refrigeration. A 2009 scholarship recipient, Kara Johnson, attended U.C. Davis for her undergraduate studies and is now a Ph.D. candidate at U.C. San Diego. Last year, Johnson’s research on a sensor for detecting the levels of sugar in algae, which can create a low-cost biofuel, earned her the Sandia National Laboratory Design Award.
To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must be residents of Santa Clara and pursuing an energy-related field. An independent evaluation team will review all the applications. According to Owens, the most attractive candidates would demonstrate a direct tie to the energy industry in their coursework plan.
Visit siliconvalleypower.com/scholarship for more information about the Silicon Valley Power Scholarship Award Program.