What kid wouldn’t want to experiment with static electricity, try their hands at growing vegetables, learn to code, don some electrical lineworker equipment, participate in a program on reptiles, and generally flex their brain in new and exciting ways?
These are just a few examples of the types of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs, activities, and events that we’ve supported over the past year.
Check out this video that showcases some of these experiences—from the Mifflinburg Science Festival in Union County to the Summer Reading Program at the Whitehall Township Public Library in Lehigh County, and communities in between.
In our ever-changing, increasingly complex, and technology-driven world, we know that it’s more important than ever to engage students in STEM disciplines from an early age. It helps develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to prepare them for their future lives and careers. That’s one of the reasons we continue to support efforts like the PPL Foundation’s Cover to Cover program and Empowering Educators grants, as well as science festivals, library programs, and other learning opportunities throughout our communities.
After all, today’s student could be tomorrow’s electrical engineer.
More on Empowering Educators grants
The PPL Foundation’s Empowering Educators grants support and encourage teachers to provide hands-on STEM learning experiences. Learn more about the 2022 Empowering Educators grant recipients.
The 167th Bloomsburg Fair was about more than fries and snow cones, rides, and prize-winning livestock. Visitors to the fair also had a chance to learn all about electrical safety, courtesy of PPL Electric Utilities.
Fairgoers watch an electrical safety demonstration
During the fair, attendees were invited to visit our Live Line Electrical Safety Exhibit to watch regular electrical safety demonstrations each day. The exhibit featured a scaled down, 7,200-volt electrical distribution system.
During demonstrations, the public saw our trained employees, wearing protective equipment in a controlled environment, using ladders, gloves, shovels, and other tools to illustrate the spark, flames, smoke, and crackle that occur when items contact live electrical lines. Our team also showed what happens when contacting underground power lines while digging.
The exhibit, which was designed by our employees in 2015 as part of our commitment to protecting the safety of our communities, is used to educate first responders and others about how to stay safe around power lines and electrical equipment. More than 51,000 people have seen demonstrations since we started taking the exhibit across our 29-county Pennsylvania service territory.
If you think your organization may be interested in a demonstration, please contact Doug Haupt at email@example.com. Available dates for 2022 are booked, but 2023 bookings have begun. You can also visit our Safety and Community page to learn more about our commitment to safety in the communities we serve.
Promoting electrical safety and putting down [Community] Roots
During several days at the fair our Community Roots program also was on hand to distribute free trees to fairgoers.
Since our Community Roots program started in 2017, we have given away over 127,000 trees and pollinator plants to help stabilize streambanks, beautify neighborhoods and provide important habitat for birds, bees and butterflies. During Community Roots events, our employees also remind attendees to call 811 before they dig and ensure they do not plant trees under or near electrical facilities.
Sometimes, we all need a little helping hand. That’s why we’re proud of our Operation HELP program.
For almost four decades, our Operation HELP program has helped more than 110,000 families struggling with their electric bills. The program, which provides grants to eligible families, is funded by generous contributions from our customers, employees and vendors.
On September 15, 2022, we hosted the 28th annual Operation HELP golf tournament at Olde Homestead Golf Club in New Tripoli and raised an additional $129,000 to support our customers. While Operation HELP, which was established in 1983, is primarily supported by donations from PPL Electric Utilities, its employees and customers, the annual golf tournament has become its largest fundraising event.
In addition to Operation HELP, we offer multiple bill assistance programs for eligible customers. These programs include: the OnTrack payment plan, budget billing, payment arrangements and even flexibility in choosing a bill due date. To find out more about how we can assist you with your bills, visit pplelectric.com/billhelp.
“We’re happy to host this annual event and raise funds for Operation HELP,” said Jaclyn Baldwin, regulatory programs manager. “This program is just one of the many ways we continue to assist our customers in their times of need. Operation HELP — along with other programs — help those who are behind on their energy bill and provide them with ways to catch up.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2022 golf tournament, and all who contribute to this vital program.
Winter is on its way. If your family can use a little helping hand, visit pplelectric.com/billhelp to learn more about Operation HELP and all of our payment assistance programs and plans.
For years, we’ve partnered with Northampton Community College (NCC) to train and place dozens of new lineworkers, who are now safely keeping your lights on.
In addition to helping build and kickstart the lineworker training program back in 2011, we’ve provided wooden poles, vehicles, and equipment so students can get the hands-on experience they need. Even the program’s six instructors are current or former PPL Electric Utilities lineworkers.
When a recent need for a program upgrade emerged, we stepped up again. This time we provided one of our digger derrick trucks so the latest class gets experience digging holes for and setting utility poles.
“It’s a high priority occupation and PPL Electric Utilities has been a fabulous partner,” said Lauren A. Loeffler, vice president of Workforce Development/Community Education. “And safety is a key focus of the program.”
The current group of 15 students will join more than 250 others, mainly from eastern and central Pennsylvania, who have completed the program and become line workers for power companies, cable companies, and other utilities.
In addition to the hands-on skills training, aspiring lineworkers receive training in employability skills, interview skills, and resume writing. This is a critical program because the industry has experienced a lineworker shortage in recent years.
After completing the 12-week pre-apprenticeship program at NCC, students are positioned to become trainees in the PPL Electric apprenticeship program.
Keeping power flowing is no easy job. Our lineworkers are safety focused, highly trained and dedicated. They have unique skills. And it never hurts to show off those skills, especially when it’s for a good cause.
This summer, PPL Electric employees competed in the 10th annual Lineman Rodeo, sponsored by the National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Lineman (NSUJL), in Hazleton. The two-day event raised funds for the families of fallen and injured IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) lineworkers and other electric distribution company employees.
Our team competed against other lineworkers in events designed to show their field skills. They took part in the Speed Climb, Hurtman Rescue, Obstacle Course, Three-Phase Transfer, Switch Changeout and other events.
When all was said and done, our lineworkers and their teams made us proud, placing in two events. Congratulations to all the participants!