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Helping K-12 students explore clean energy careers

, Helping K-12 students explore clean energy careers
Helping K-12 students explore clean energy careers

April 16, 2024

Over the past year, CEI has collaborated with the Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS) — a nonprofit organization that fosters partnerships with local businesses and institutions to provide equitable access to educational and career opportunities for local students — to develop a tour of our facilities that engages students and demonstrates a variety of careers in clean energy.

WABS Career Tours “provide career exposure to students who are furthest from opportunity, including BIPOC, low-income, and first-generation students” through explorational activities and networking with local professionals.

This past December, CEI hosted one such career tour for 16 students from Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, WA. The students began the day with a tour of the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, CEI’s open-access facility for developing solar, battery, smart grid, advanced manufacturing, and other climate technologies. The tour, led by Testbeds managing director Mike Pomfret, featured the roll-to-roll printer that can print meters of flexible solar cells as well as tools for testing prototypes, such as microscopes, solar simulators, and environmental testing chambers.

Following the tour, CEI Education and Training Fellows (ETFs) Hareesh Iyer and Chaman Gupta led the Mt. Rainier students through CEI’s Draw a Circuit activity: a hands-on learning experience where students use graphite pencils to draw circuits with either batteries or miniature solar cells in order to light up LEDs. The students also connected with CEI and Testbeds staff, researchers, and climate tech entrepreneurs in a dynamic speed networking session. Finishing off the event, students learned about the University of Washington admissions process from an admissions advisor, including specific information about higher education in fields related to clean energy.

Career tours with CEI are open to Washington state K-12 or community college classrooms when space is available. Please contact CEI Associate Director of Education & Workforce Engagement Danica Hendrickson at to book a visit!