Insights > Entergy New Orleans partners with Youthforce NOLA to propel the careers of five local students

Entergy New Orleans partners with Youthforce NOLA to propel the careers of five local students


At the end of July, five rising seniors from New Orleans high schools completed our Know Your Power High School Internship pilot program. In partnership with YouthForce NOLA, the five-week program underscored our commitment to diversity and inclusion by helping the students understand their strengths and interests while familiarizing them with the various functional areas of Entergy and reinforcing workplace skills.

"I pulled my team together to really think about how we can do things differently to pull folks in from the local community and give them the opportunity to see behind the curtain and understand what opportunities in our company are out there for them," said Steven Benyard, vice president, reliability.

The interns, who went through a rigorous application process with YouthForce NOLA, completed four weeks of soft-skills training prior to beginning their internships in June.

"Expanding options, opportunity and prosperity for our youth and city takes us all, working together, said Sarah Bell, chief of industry and exposure at YouthForce NOLA. “We are grateful to Entergy for its leadership in hosting five YouthForce NOLA interns this summer as part of the Know Your Power initiative. The Entergy team generously gave their time and talent to these young people, helping them grow the skills and know-how needed to be ready to step into great jobs after high school."

Upon starting at Entergy, students learned about skill crafts and trades that are important to careers in energy. They also worked on STEM projects that focused on power delivery and power generation. The internship also covered business topics – like ideation, customer service, marketing and accounting – as well as communications, legal and regulatory topics. Interviewing, problem solving and hands-on team building activities were also a part of the curriculum.

"As long as you have the want to and the willingness, the sky's the limit in terms of where you can aspire to be at Entergy," said Shelton Hudson, director, reliability. "Entergy helps to develop you to grow and be with the company."

Each of the five students had a different focus area: distribution engineering, customer service, power delivery, public affairs and electrical leadership and management. A capstone presentation at the end of the program provided the interns a chance to present their learnings and final deliverables to a group of our company's leaders.

"After spending time with Entergy, I realized that you aren't just powering life, but you showed me that I can power my own life to go all around the world," said Phabien Ferrand, distribution engineering intern and student at Landry College and Career Preparatory High School. "Actually, I take away some key skills, so now I'm moving forward when I'm in school to work on my communication skills, time management and problem solving for my classwork."

In addition to a certificate of completion, updated resume and LinkedIn profile, each of the interns walked away with a roster of new contacts at Entergy and the promise of semiannual follow-ups from the diversity and workforce strategies team. Those follow-ups will continue until post-secondary graduation.

"Someone was willing to invest in me to show me all the different opportunities that are out there, and that's all that I'm looking to do – to hopefully inspire kids and open their eyes to see that there's so much out there in terms of careers," Hudson said. "You can be working right here in your community and doing great things for the community."

Other high schools represented by the interns were Livingston Collegiate Academy, Warren Easton Charter, Einstein: Sarah T. Reed, and Edna Carr.

New Orleans Editorial Team