For immediate release - April 26, 2012
City of Leesburg and Lake County Schools to Create Energy Academy
Leesburg High School students soon will have a unique opportunity to train and earn valuable certifications toward highly skilled electrical jobs through a new energy academy created in partnership with the City of Leesburg.
Leesburg City Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement on Monday to provide $220,000 in funding for an electrical education program at the high school’s newly named Construction and Energy Technology Academy. The Lake County School Board approved the program at a separate meeting on April 16.
Classes for 9th and 10th graders will begin in August and teach fundamentals of electricity, circuitry, wiring and safety as well as more advanced concepts needed for work in the electrical industry. Students also can earn four industrial trade certifications through the National Center for Construction Education and Research and qualify for internships, providing a big competitive advantage in getting into high-paying careers.
The goal is to help train local students for employment in this part of Florida, with utilities like the Leesburg Electric Department or in the construction and engineering fields. Development of a more skilled workforce also can benefit local businesses and attract new companies and jobs to the Leesburg area.
“The fact is that we need workers with these skills,” said Leesburg Mayor Sanna Henderson, who encourages Leesburg High students to take advantage of the opportunity.
Leesburg City Commissioner David Knowles said the new energy academy provides a way for local students to build sustainable careers close to home: “We should look out for the kids in our community. Too often the best and brightest members of our local families go off to school and work in some other place and they don’t have the opportunity to come back to Leesburg.”
Lake County School Board Chairperson Rosanne Brandeburg complimented Leesburg’s efforts.
“The City of Leesburg is such a great partner with Lake County Schools – this is a continuation of a much larger commitment from the city to improve our educational system,” said Brandeburg, who joined city officials this year to visit a similar public school – the Lakeland Electric Power Academy at Tenoroc High School in Polk County.
Leesburg’s energy academy – a planned four-year educational program - will be located at Leesburg High as an extension of the existing Construction Technology Program. The city’s investment will purchase computers, training software and electrical equipment. Leesburg will help this summer to set up the indoor lab as well as an outdoor work area with 12-foot-tall utility poles.
One facet of studies at the new academy will teach students about energy conservation and environmentally friendly construction. Saving power is important to the City of Leesburg, which is implementing a complete electric system upgrade this year to help empower customers to reduce peak-time electricity usage and to reduce their monthly utility bills.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.
The academy also will teach about different forms of alternative energy to supplement this area’s growing electric demands. Leesburg currently is working to develop one source of alternative energy at its nearby Florida Energy and Aerospace Technology Park, where a creative proposal with various companies will convert municipal utility waste into green energy, fuel and other products.