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DCPS Career Bridge Program Puts High School Graduate Closer to A Full-Time Career: An Interview with Marcellus Thomas

Pepco is a proud partner of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Career Bridge Program, which provides opportunities for high school seniors to participate in professional skill building, career exploration, and internship opportunities to help students develop a plan for after graduation. Upon completion of the program, students interview with Pepco and our partner contractors of choice for full time employment as general laborers or for entry level positions in Operations departments, including Overhead, Underground, Transmission and Substation, Meters, and Fleet.

We recently talked with Marcellus Thomas, a recent graduate of Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School, about his experience in the DCPS Career Bridge Program.

Nicole: Where did you first hear about this program and what made you decide to join?

Marcellus: I was exposed to this program by my school counselor. Once she started to give me more information on how it could benefit my future, I just couldn’t let the amazing opportunity pass me by.

Nicole: The program lasted for a few months and you have a few more weeks to go this summer; what is your favorite part of the program and why?

Marcellus: So far, my favorite part of the program is the open discussions and guest speakers we have had throughout the program. The open discussions give us time to brainstorm and work as a team , even virtually. The guest speakers provide amazing information that made me want to stay in the program even more. For example, when a lot of the guest speakers let it be known that we don’t have to have a college degree to be as successful that really caught my attention, because right now I don’t feel like I am in a position to go to college. So, I like that Pepco offers opportunities to get a good job right now.

Nicole: What are you looking forward to learning  during the next segment of this program, and after you complete it?

Marcellus: During the next segment this summer I am looking forward to learning about the average workday within the company. For example, the safety precautions and the objectives of a job that must get done. I am also looking forward to having  hands-on, on-the-job training before I start a full-time position. I am looking forward to starting my  career and beginning to set a new foundation for my life. That is all I can think about. This has been on my mind since day one.

Nicole: What advice would you give someone from DCPS who is going through this program for the first time?

Marcellus: I highly recommend that anyone going through this program for the first time create a solid plan that will help them with time management. Also, find a quiet place where they can stay focused to take in the knowledge that’s being provided. And last, ask questions and take advantage of the small opportunities throughout the program which can be super beneficial in the long run.

Nicole: Are there any areas of the electric energy industry that the program has exposed you to that you’re most interested in? After you graduate this summer, what job do you hope to get?

Marcellus: At the beginning of the program, I was exposed to both the transformer shop and lineworkers within Pepco. The transformer shop is essential when it comes to electricity and a lineworker has a very important job since they install and provide electricity throughout the city. After graduation this summer, I hope to get a job inside the transformer shop. However, I will gratefully take any job offered to me.

Nicole: Did this program change the way you think about the future?

Marcellus: The program did change the way I think about the future. I was aware of these types of jobs; however, I wasn’t aware that so many people were interested in them. I feel as though the future holds many more inventions and innovations for the utility industry which will benefit the customers in the most possible, energy-saving way.

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