Helping Make Career Dreams Come True for Verbum Dei Students
When you think of Southern California Edison, the trading floor doesn’t immediately pop into your mind. It certainly didn’t for Kenneth Simpkins, a freshman at Verbum Dei High School who is interning at the utility through the school’s work study program.
“What the program is mainly trying to do is get you ready for work,” said the 14 year old.
Recently, Kenneth and fellow freshman intern, Quintin Hardie, got a tour of the company’s energy trading department and learned how the company buys and sells power on the energy market.
Credit: Joseph Foulk and Justin Felles
The students also met with some of the company’s video crews and learned about the electronics of videography and what kind of work that job entails.
“I thought it was a good head start in life to be able to witness a job at this young age and how my parents never got a chance to go to a job in high school,” said Quintin.
Since 2006, Edison International, SCE’s parent company, has partnered with Verbum Dei High to support the school’s Corporate Work Study Program. The program helps the school’s underserved male students gain valuable on-the-job learning experiences and mentorship.
In partnership with businesses throughout Los Angeles, the school takes care of the logistics of getting students to and from work. Each student works one day a week, often for the same company for their entire four-year high school experience. And they’re paid, which helps cover a part of their high school tuition costs.
Over the years, Edison International has helped mentor 27 Verbum Dei students. This year, the school’s staff and Class of 2015 recognized the company with its Corporate Partner of the Year award at its annual Mardi Gras celebration.
“The Corporate Work Study Program provides our students an opportunity to gain exposure to different careers and industries while they gain skills, enhance their work ethic and develop professional networks,” said Cristina Cuellar-Villanueva, Verbum Dei High vice president of programming. “Thanks to companies like Edison International, our students have a competitive advantage over their peers.”
Kenneth now has his sights set on robotics or electrical engineering as a future career. And he credits Edison International for giving him the tools to one day reach his dreams.
“When I started working here, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” he said. “It’s really cool and a valuable experience to get to see what happens behind the scenes to keep our lights on.”