Inside Aera
Aera in the Community Sep 19, 2022

Learning through working

Kern County teens learn about STEM careers and get work experience through Boys & Girls Clubs

Frontier High School student Isabella Comelli, 16, wants to be a veterinarian one day. She learned about the wide variety of careers available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields during a recent visit to Aera Energy and was surprised to hear that includes veterinary science.

Comelli, who interned for five weeks at DLB Fire Protection, is one of 25 Kern County high-school students who recently wrapped up summer internships at local businesses through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County’s (BGCKC) Summer Jobs Program.

They spent their last day of the program learning about the variety of (STEM) careers available in all industries, at Aera Energy’s Bakersfield headquarters. Many said it was an eye-opening experience.

“I really like animals, I like being around them, I feel like I’m good at working with them and understand them in a way,” said Comelli, who started her junior year at Frontier in the fall. “I feel like the experience I gained through the internship will be helpful in any job I get in the future.”

Aera employees Blake Watkins and Robert McCauley explain the drilling process to a group of high-school interns from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County

BGCKC provided intensive pre-employment training to more than 100 youth in Kern County this summer — the top 25 students were selected for five weeks of paid-summer internships. Teens spent 20 hours a week working at various Kern County businesses – assisting with daily tasks and gaining real-life work experience. The program is open to all high school students in Kern County, age 15 and over.

Teens learned to build resumes, write cover letters, participate in interviews, and how to handle challenging situations in the workplace. They also became CPR certified, obtained Safe Serve Food Handler certifications, and necessary training to ready them for an entry-level position.

“We’re setting very high expectations for students,” said Ruth Miranda, summer jobs program coordinator at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. “It supports not only the students but local businesses and gives students workforce skills they will need in the future.”

Students learned about Aera’s work in safety, environmental health, science and engineering through exhibits and a Q&A session with Aera employees. Employees shared stories of their personal career journeys and answered questions about STEM careers in various industries.

“It’s been a really great experience and I’ve learned so much,” Comelli said.

“Businesses in our community have been so willing to open their doors to our student interns, and Aera has been such a great community partner and supporter of education. The connections, the opportunities, the memories, and training the students receive will last a lifetime,” Miranda said.

DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is a three-time recipient of the Forbes America’s Midsize Employer List, placing ninth in the 2022 ranking and securing its spot in the top ten midsize companies to work for in the United States.

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