Students Find Motivation for Future Success

At-risk youth, young adults from the Inland Empire learn about careers at SCE.

Roberto Carlos Gonzalez, 24, dreams of being a lineman someday.

“Sometimes when I get out of work really late, I see the linemen working in the middle of the night up on the utility poles,” he said in admiration.

Gonzales works late-night shifts at a distribution center to support his wife and two kids. He’s also a high school student at John Muir Charter Schools, an organization with 50 sites across the state that provides high school education to at-risk youth and young adults between the ages of 16-25.

Despite only getting a few hours of sleep the night before, he rushed to join his school field trip to Southern California Edison’s Energy Education Center in Irwindale, where he was able to engage with SCE employees about pursuing a career as a lineman.

SCE hosted in December 60 students from John Muir Charter Schools’ Inland Southern region, including Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Bernardino and Indio as part of their Career Pathways Program that prepares students to achieve lifelong sustainable employment.

The event included an interactive panel discussion with SCE executives and employees about careers and the future of the utility industry. There was also a tour of the facilities and lineman trucks. 

John Muir Students
Mariah Bencomo, 17, aspiring police officer, asks the panel a question.

“It was inspiring,” said Mariah Bencomo, 17, a high school senior aspiring to be a police officer with a focus in forensics. “I liked hearing the variety of different stories from the speakers who all came from different backgrounds.”

For Bencomo, it was also comforting hearing about opportunities available to her.

“Unlike a lot of cultures in the world, the United States of America is a place where you can start, you can fail, you can start over again, fail and start over again,” said Gaddi Vasquez, senior vice president of Government Affairs for Edison International and SCE. 

Some of the students had never heard of SCE.

“I never knew this company existed,” said Dylan Cole, 17. “When I heard ‘utilities’ or ‘electricity,’ I just thought of government, but I learned that the largest electric provider in the Inland Empire is SCE, a private company, and a really cool one at that.”

Gonzalez will graduate from high school in January and plans to study to become a lineman.

“When I was younger, I made a lot of mistakes that prevented me from doing a lot, but luckily I got a lot of mercy where I still have a lot of opportunities,” he said. “I want to be a good example for my siblings.”

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