CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ComEd today announced it will award $279,500 in scholarships to 56 local students pursuing college coursework in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and related fields this fall. The new Future of Energy Scholarships are part of ComEd’s growing efforts to build a more diverse future energy workforce by removing obstacles for women and minority students pursuing STEM careers.
The 56 students selected to receive scholarships reflect the diversity of the communities that ComEd serves, with scholars hailing from 28 different community areas across northern Illinois. More than 50 percent of the scholarship recipients are minorities and nearly two-thirds are women. One fifth of the scholars are committed to attend an Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the fall. A full list of the spring 2022 scholarship recipients can be found here.
“ComEd requires skilled talent as we work to confront climate change and prepare for our clean energy future,” said Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “The Future of Energy Scholarship is a key component of the work we are doing to create a local, diverse pipeline of talent to meet new demands of the industry and ensure equitable opportunity for our communities across the region so they can benefit from the growth of well-paying clean energy jobs in the years ahead.”
The Future of Energy Scholarship provides college bound high school seniors and current college students with awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, which may be used to cover tuition and related expenses, in addition to the chance to pursue a ComEd internship where students gain direct career experience in the energy industry.
"I am appreciative to ComEd for this scholarship award as I prepare to attend Howard University to pursue my goal to become an engineer,” said Chase Easley, student from Schaumburg who will be majoring in engineering at Howard University this fall. “Through my involvement in STEAM courses in high school, I have learned the importance of renewable energy for our environment, and I look forward to building the skills that will help me create a more sustainable future for my community.”
To be eligible for an award, students were required to demonstrate acceptance to a STEM, business or relevant degree program, and a minimum 2.8 GPA. Priority consideration was made for minorities and women, students with a demonstrated financial need, and students headed to an HBCU program. Since announcing the program in February, ComEd expanded funding to provide additional support for qualifying students who met needs-based criteria.
“Pursuing a degree in engineering has always been a dream for me, and with the ComEd Future of Energy scholarship, I look forward to pursuing my passion for computer science this fall,” said Kelly Lin, student from Chicago who will attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “I am honored to have received this award and an internship with ComEd, and I have never been more motivated to make myself and my family proud with these opportunities.”
To recruit scholars for this opportunity, ComEd worked with a program administrator, National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, to promote the program across various channels including job and community resource fairs, within local school systems, youth providers, workforce agencies, and more.
“We are honored to partner with ComEd for the Future of Energy Scholarships. The exceptional students who are receiving these scholarships reflect the diversity of a growing energy industry and STEM as a whole,” said Mary Spruill, Executive Director of The NEED Project. “The ingenuity, talent, and curiosity exhibited by each of these students will shape the future of the energy as we consider the opportunities and challenges ahead.”
Advancements in clean energy technology are expected to fuel new jobs for the future, with green jobs estimated to jump from 9 million to 24 million by 2030. To ensure diverse local residents can benefit from these opportunities, ComEd is taking steps to address the current inequities in STEM, which includes as few as 9 percent of STEM jobs occupied by Black Americans, 7 percent by Latinos, and only 27 percent by women, despite their being more than half of the eligible workforce.
“As a computer science major, concerned about the future of our planet, I am interested in working with smart grids to integrate renewable energy sources like solar,” said Vanessa Medrano, student from Streamwood who will be majoring in computer science and programming at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “I am thankful for the scholarship to support my education and for the opportunity to intern at ComEd. This internship will give me a first-hand look at working with smart grid technology and learn from experts in the field I am pursuing.”
The Future of Energy Scholarship program builds on the array of STEM education and college preparatory programs offered by ComEd and its parent company, Exelon, including: the DePaul Scholarship program, STEM scholarships for Illinois Tech and University of Illinois programs, the Exelon HBCU Scholarship Fund, and various high school training and mentorship programs geared toward promoting women and minorities in the STEM fields. To inspire more young women to enter STEM fields, ComEd will also host its first-ever EV Rally this summer, a competition that challenges teens to build electric-powered racecars.
To expand future pathways to college, ComEd expects to issue another $250,000 in scholarship opportunities later this year for 2023 college students. For updates on these and other career assistance opportunities, please visit www.comed.com/workforce