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SFPUC and Social Impact Partners Welcome Back John O’Connell High School Students
Collaborative with Mission District High School part of agency’s Social Impact Partnership program and Kindergarten-to-Career Strategy
Posted Date: 8/22/2019 10:00 AM

San Francisco, CA—The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and its social impact partners will welcome back the students of John O’Connell High School on Friday, August 23, highlighting another year of collaboration with Mission District public high school.

The SFPUC’s private contracting firms, Stantec and McMillen Jacobs, provide funding support, technical expertise and volunteer work to help students at John O’Connell learn more about the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure and prepare for them for a professional career in the industry.

“This initiative is another great example of how the City can work with our private sector partners to give back locally to the communities we serve,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “Our job is more than just strengthening infrastructure—we must also strengthen our communities, and we are doing that by educating our next generation of leaders.”

On Friday, volunteers from Stantec and McMillen Jacobs will enjoy breakfast with the students, help set up classrooms and go over some of the programs and project-based curriculum that will be taught at the school this year. The welcome event will take place at 7 a.m. on August 23 at the John O’Connell High School campus on 2355 Folsom Street.

Along with welcoming the students back, the social impact partner firms helped with weeklong prep work at the high school earlier this month, providing approximately 30 hours of volunteer time assisting teachers and administrators.

"I want to thank the SPFUC, Stantec and McMillen Jacobs for helping our VIP students come back to school in style!” said John O’Connell Principal Susan Ryan. “We are looking forward to another great year supported by this wonderful partnership, which makes it more feasible to prepare every student for college and career.”

In July, the SFPUC, nonprofit IgnitED, and the JV Stantec and McMillen Jacobs worked with teachers from John O’Connell for a weeklong paid externship. The externship program supported teachers to integrate water, power, and sewer operations into project-based learning curricula for high school students. The teachers learned about the combined sewer system, the Living Machine, water resource planning, environmental justice, and a range of other topics that will inform their teachings for this school year.

Additionally, the social impact firms will support a visit to Camp Mather and the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir for a group of 9th grade students and their chaperones next May. The firms will also offer funding support for classroom materials and other school needs that support studies in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“We’re proud to design with San Francisco’s diverse communities in mind,” said Stephen Robinson, Stantec Area Manager for Water. “We’re thrilled to partner with SFPUC, McMillen Jacobs Associates and John O’Connell High School to help educate future generations about the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure, while supporting STEM education and developing career pathways for today’s youth. This is truly a symbiotic initiative: by opening the doors to the next generation of talented students, we end up learning from them in the process.”

“McMillen Jacobs Associates has been member of the San Francisco community since it was founded in 1954,” said Kush Chohan, Senior Project Engineer at McMillen Jacobs Associates. “We are proud to serve the students of John O’Connell High School and to reinforce and promote STEM education throughout our community. You’ll find that our team members embody the true pride and spirit of innovation and community. While we all continually strive to Design with Vision and Build with Integrity, we also attempt to have fun in our workplace and balance our professional goals with our personal commitments at home.

In prior years, the SFPUC worked with John O’Connell High School on clean power educational programs, which included renewable energy teachings in the classroom, installation of solar panels, discussion of best communication practices and studies on social media campaigns for CleanPowerSF.

The collaboration with John O’Connell is part of the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership Program, which invites private sector firm partners to give back locally to the communities in which they are performing work on behalf of the SFPUC. The SFPUC is the first public utility in the country to implement a social impact program that advances corporate social responsibility as a part of its competitive bidding process for professional services, alternative delivery and energy contracts valued at $5 million or more.

The SFPUC’s contract firm partners are currently working on the Folsom Street Stormwater Improvement Program, an effort to increase flood resilience efforts in Inner Mission neighborhood surrounding 17th, 18th and Folsom Streets, which has been historically subject to flooding during moderate to heavy storms. John O’Connell High School is located nearby to that work site.

Other examples of the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership program include the the Bayview Bistro, an open-air marketplace featuring local food vendors, the Maisin Scholarship, which support students who are determined to achieve their academic goals beyond high school, and CityWorks, which offers paid internships for residents in the City’s Southeast communities.

About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. Our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at