Ameren Illinois receives award for groundbreaking energy efficiency internship program
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) is a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest across 13 states. MEEA recognizes energy efficiency leaders through its “Inspiring Efficiency Awards” each year. Leidos and our customer, Ameren Illinois, were recognized for exemplary program implementation in the Education Category at MEEA’s 17th annual event, which was held virtually in March 2021.
2021 EDUCATION AWARD – AMEREN ILLINOIS
The Inspiring Efficiency through Education Award is presented to an organization that has developed and implemented an educational campaign, program, or strategy to increase knowledge and action on energy efficiency.
In 2018, Ameren Illinois introduced its Market Development Initiative to strengthen the local energy efficiency economy by providing resources, support, and solutions to residential and business customers in underserved communities throughout central and southern Illinois. As part of the Market Development Initiative, the utility and Leidos launched an Energy Efficiency Internship Program to help connect students and career-transitioning individuals with companies and organizations within the energy efficiency industry. Since its introduction three years ago, the Internship Program has made an immediate impact on the energy efficiency landscape in downstate Illinois through the funding of 36 energy efficiency internships.
Through a forward-looking and innovative approach, Ameren Illinois’ Internship Program:
- Focuses on building a strong, diverse workforce to meet the needs of the growing energy efficiency industry by connecting trade education programs with companies and organizations within the industry.
- Offers a rare, risk-free opportunity for college students, as well as career-transitioning adults, to explore potential careers in energy efficiency with organizations that may not have traditionally offered internships.
- Partners with community based organizations to provide hands-on job training and industry-related education for interns every summer. Students learn about employment opportunities, receive mentorship from professionals, and build skills that will help them secure a full-time position in energy efficiency.
- Facilitates intern hiring by many employers that participate in the Internship Program through regular employer check-ins as well as consistent intern onboarding and training.
In 2020, Ameren Illinois received 69 applications for internships or staffing grants, which resulted in 15 internships and six staffing grants being funded through the program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internship Program pivoted to a virtual approach. In partnership with the National Energy Foundation, interns attended weekly energy efficiency virtual sessions to support their training and allow them to engage with industry professionals and other participating interns. The virtual approach has helped Ameren Illinois to continue to assist students as well as partner companies and organizations during the pandemic. In addition to this year’s award, the Market Development Initiative was recognized with the MEEA Education Award in 2019 for its Energy Efficiency Scholarship Program.
Through the industry-leading Market Development Initiative, Ameren Illinois and Leidos have successfully engaged more than 130,000 customers with energy efficiency education, ongoing energy savings, and improved comfort. Learn more about Leidos and our award-winning energy efficiency solutions and services.