San Francisco, CA— The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) hosted 35 seventh grade students from Willie Brown Middle School at its headquarters on Thursday for Spark Lab
, an immersive opportunity designed to teach youth about career possibilities in the water, power and wastewater industries.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards and members of our local workforce,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “We’re excited to collaborate with Spark and our social impact partners to educate local students about how our systems operate while showing them some of the impactful and fulfilling careers our agency has to offer.”
Spark Lab invites seventh graders into various workspaces for onsite workshops to understand and experience future career opportunities in certain industries while connecting them to professionals in those fields. The program aims to support their professional journey by providing them with the knowledge and resources. Over the course of five weeks, Willie Brown Middle School students will visit Salesforce, Roblox, Zendesk and Gartner, in addition to the SFPUC.
“Middle school is a pivotal time in youth development,” said Sam Scheetz, Program Manager at Spark Lab. “At a time when classroom engagement often decreases, we’re exposing middle school students to opportunities that connect the dots between classroom learning and real-world careers with caring, supportive mentors.”
During Thursday’s Spark Lab activities at the SFPUC, students rotated through water, power and wastewater stations where they learned about the agency’s operations and careers associated with these industries. Students also participated in a design thinking workshop to build social awareness and empathy, and engaged in an exercise to help them explore their individual identities and sense of self. The activities were facilitated by 22 volunteers from SFPUC and its social impact partner firms Stantec, Brown and Caldwell, AEPC, Jacobs, Emerson, and TRSE Inc.—all companies with expertise in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The SFPUC’s Education Program webpage
has additional information about how the agency is participating in programs to teach local children about its STEM careers.