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National Grid program offers incentives to study engineering

National Grid is giving local high school students the opportunity to explore engineering careers with a program designed to inspire and attract youth to the profession.

“There are fewer engineers today,” said Kathy Lyford, vice president of electric operations of National Grid. “The demand for engineers is increasing and the amount of engineers coming out of college is decreasing.”

National Grid’s Engineering Pipeline Program offers high school students the chance to learn more about National Grid and the engineering profession through a structured six-year program. The inaugural class is taking part in the weeklong “Intro to Engineering Academy,” which began Monday at the National Grid Learning Center on Henry Clay Boulevard in Clay.

Eric Morris, a senior at Marcellus High School, said he can picture himself working at National Grid some day.

“I really love it here,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about the energy industry before I came here. They have so many different types of engineers working here.”

Morris, who wants to study robotics engineering in college, is one of 20 students from nine local high schools selected to participate.

The students applied to the Engineering Pipeline Program and had to meet certain criteria. Applicants must have an average grade of 87, completed their junior year of high school, provided two recommendations and demonstrated an interest in engineering, Lyford said.

If students maintain their eligibility in the program and study engineering in college, they will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing activities, which include a paid internship at National Grid, job shadowing and mentoring activities. By completing the six-year program the students will also be fast-tracked for full-time employment at National Grid after graduation.

Elyce Buell, an upcoming senior at Skaneateles High School, said she is interested in becoming an engineer and has learned a lot from the National Grid program.

“My mom is an aerospace engineer and I know when she started the ratio of girls to guys was very low,” Buell said. “So I guess engineering also interests me, because I like the challenge of being a girl in the industry.”

--Contact Sarah Moses at smoses@syracuse.com or 470-2298.

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