SPOKANE, Wash. -- Governor Jay Inslee traveled to Spokane Monday afternoon to talk with a group of high school students who are receiving first-hand experience in working in the energy industry.
Eighteen students are finishing a month-long program through Avista Utilities that gives them some experience and understanding of what it it like to work in the world of energy and engineering.
The students were in their fourth week of Avista's Inaugural Energy Pathways Student Career Experience. It's a series of courses that allows juniors and seniors to get hands-on experience and job shadowing in the fields of energy and other engineering technologies.
Jeremy Gall, craft trainee manager at Avista, said one of the program's primary goals was to expose students to some of the opportunities the field can offer.
"Trying to connect more into the high school sand trying to introduce an energy program instead of people accidentally finding their way into this type of job," Gall said.
He said the program began as an idea from the governor's Career Connect Washington initiative.
Governor Inslee said he hopes the students have a greater understanding of some of their educational options following high school.
"It's time for us to stop telling our kids that if they don't get a four year degree then they're a failure," he said.
At the beginning of the program, the students each identified positions within the field that most interested them. Then tehy did job shadowing and took hands on courses in designing, planning and learning about other forms of utility management.
Roka Brovisk is a rising junior at Spokane Valley Tech and he said the program allowed him to better know which career he wants to pursue.
"I originally wanted to do something engineering and I wasn't quite sure about energy," Brovisk said. "But after doing this, I'm definitely interested in something in the energy field."
The students will have a graduation ceremony Friday celebrating their completion of the program.