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IBEW 569 High School Program in the Spotlight

Local Students’ Sustainable Skills Showcased at San Diego Board of Education Meeting

Students from the Renewable Energy Leadership Institute (RELI) showcased their skills at the San Diego Unified School District Board meeting with an electric go-cart and solar charging station

May 25, 2010- 11th and 12th grade students at the Renewable Energy Leadership Institute (RELI) demonstrated an electric go-cart and solar charging station for San Diego Unified School District Board members at today’s meeting.


RELI is a pilot two-year program that taps into bright science students in the San Diego Unified School District and allows them to attend classes at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 / National Electrical Contractors’ Association (NECA) San Diego Training Center while they learn about electricity, sheet metal work, renewable energy and environmentally-sustainable principles.  Board Member Shelia Jackson says that “The students’ project highlights the spirit of this new program which is intended to use projects to provide real world learning opportunities in the energy industry while preparing students for college, apprenticeship, and civic engagement.”

The college or apprenticeship-bound students look forward to bright and sustainable futures.  Diane Aceveda is a senior from Morse High who be entering the Environmental Engineering program at San Diego State University next fall.  Diane, a standout student, says “At RELI I learned a lot of technical and hands on skills that really got me interested in becoming an engineering major in college and then having my own contracting business.” 

Diane’s RELI classmate Angel Prado will also be entering the Environmental Engineering Program at San Diego State.  Angel wasn’t convinced by all the talk about climate change when he started taking AP physics at Mira Mesa High, but he says “for me, RELI has been a stepping stone into the field of environmental engineering. At RELI I learned about sustainability through the science of things like wiring, converters, power quality, and fiber optics.”

Through RELI, students get advanced science education with hands-on applications.  They meet and network with union electricians and sheet metal workers, scholars and industry experts. This made it a good fit for Serra High senior William Wilson who says, “I like using science to make the world a better place.  At RELI I learn a lot about how to do that through electrical and sheet metal work and physics.”  William will be continuing down the path he started at RELI as an apprentice at the San Diego Electrical Training Center.  As he finishes his high school education and prepares for his apprenticeship program, William Wilson is already getting hands-on in the field and earning a paycheck at his job with Audio Associates- a premier San Diego low-voltage electrical firm and NECA member.

 “What a great opportunity for a high school student.” says RELI teacher Chris Lawrence “Through the San Diego Sheetmetal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) our students have exposure and access to hundreds of businesses that are committed to sustainability and collectively-bargained training.  At a time when so many District families are struggling to just get by, it is critical to find innovative ways to help students succeed academically and be prepared for the 21st century world of work.”