Every year during Careers in Energy Week, Oct. 18-22, we reach out to students and job-seekers across Michigan to spread awareness about the great opportunities in energy. Throughout the week, energy companies virtually open their doors to students and adults across the state for tours, panels, career fairs, demonstrations, contests and more. We’ve had a full schedule developed by our Workforce Development team and our partners at the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium, and we’ve enjoyed connecting with the next generation of our workforce. 

We’re grateful for the employees who give their time to talk to students and job-seekers during this week and throughout the year. Tina Saad, program manager, Public Affairs, talked to high school students as part of our company’s Asian & Middle Eastern American Energy Resource Group (ERG). “It is important to demonstrate to our younger generation that there is someone who looks like them in the workplace, that they can see themselves at our company and that they will be welcomed,” she says. “Representation matters in the workplace, and if you can imagine yourself there, you’re more likely to apply.” 

Tina’s a first generation Lebanese American, and her parents wanted her to get a good education and a good job. She remembers how difficult it was to choose her career path when she was young. “I wish that at a younger age I knew that there were different options out there that didn’t require going to a traditional four-year college. I’m thankful to have had the opportunities that brought me to DTE and to encounter individuals who encouraged me to go down the path I have gone down.” 

Andre Diaz, public improvement coordinator, has led presentations for job-ready adults in West Michigan. “It is critical for our ERGs to be involved in initiatives such as Careers in Energy Week,” he says. “As a West Michigan member of REACH, I know that my participation is vital for our communities of color. Representation is often the catalyst that allows people to see themselves in careers that they may have previously believed were not even an option for them. For many of us this saying rings true: “If you can see it, you can be it.” 

Nuclear energy might not be top of mind for students considering careers, but Brett Jebbia, shift manager, Nuclear Operations, hopes to change that and clear up misconceptions about this career path during a presentation for high school students on Friday.  

“The nuclear industry continually demonstrates a commitment to learning from all events and improving processes, producing safe, clean, carbon free electrical power,” he says. “The careers offer work in an environment which has a relentless focus on both personnel and operational safety. The people are of the highest caliber and continually demonstrate an unwavering commitment towards accomplishing their work with high standards always. Nuclear needs the next generation of employees as our workforce transitions through career fulfilled retirements.” 

Stay connected with this work all year at careersinenergymichigan.com.