Astoria Students Learn from Career Mentors and Demonstrate Drone Flying Skills at Boys & Girls Club – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

ASTORIA—Youth at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens yesterday joined a mentoring session on drone technology and green energy jobs led by representatives of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Con Edison and renewable energy company 174 Power Global. Last week, NYPA introduced the students to the unmanned aircraft systems used to monitor and maintain its utility infrastructure and taught them to fly classroom-friendly drones. At this week’s mentoring event, students showcased their new skills operating drones and had a chance to talk with several NYPA drone pilots and other energy professionals.

“As New York State moves closer to achieving its clean energy goals, our young people will find new and rewarding job opportunities in emerging clean energy industries,” said Justin E. Driscoll, NYPA’s president and CEO. “The Power Authority’s annual collaboration with Con Ed and 174 Power Global aims to give children a leg up on the career ladder by exposing them to different disciplines through hands-on activities like flying drones!”

More than 60 students engaged in the mentoring experience, asking questions of the experts in attendance. The annual youth Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and mentorship program follows similar events hosted in prior years that focus on learning about careers in emerging technology within the utility industry.

Costa Constantinides, chief executive officer of the Variety Boys and Girls Club, said, “Having community partners like the New York Power Authority, Con Edison and 174 Power Global, our kids have access and support in the programming that we provide each and every day to allow them to grow into the next scientist, astrophysicist, technologist or anything they want to be. These partners have continued to work with us for over three years now and we look forward to continuing our work with them, for our kids for a very long time.”

Students will have a variety of opportunities to work in STEM fields as demand for jobs in those industries continues to grow. The mentors hoped to inspire students to pursue science and technology-related jobs by sharing their personal experiences.

STEM programming and mentorship have specific importance to Western Queens, where a large percentage of New York City’s power has historically been generated. The career and mentorship program, part of NYPA’s environmental justice efforts, supports an under-resourced community located near the development of the 100-megawatt East River Energy Storage Project.

174 Power Global was selected by Con Edison to develop the clean energy project on property owned by NYPA that once housed the former Charles Poletti power plant. The East River Storage Project will have an energy contract with Con Edison and be the largest energy storage system in NYC.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said, “It’s important we teach our kids the skills they can use in the future as they grow toward booming clean energy and aviation jobs of tomorrow, and that’s what this program did for the kids of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. I thank the New York Power Authority, Con Edison and 174 Power Global for giving our kids the skills they will undoubtedly use as they pursue careers in STEM.”

Richard David, Con Edison’s director of Regional and Community Affairs in Queens, said, “It’s heartening to see young people enthused about the wonders of technology as they look forward to STEM careers and applying their knowledge to make our world better. We’ll need their expertise and diverse backgrounds to meet the many challenges we face, including a just transition to clean energy so that we can continue to inhabit a safe, sustainable planet for generations to come.”

Shane Kim, chief executive officer of 174 Power Global, said, “With the support of NYPA, Con Edison, and our partners like the Variety Boys & Girls Club, we are ready and eager to invest in one of the largest energy storage projects in New York City. As we work to reinvent energy that can create resiliency, we also want to work with students who will help to power the energy transition by communicating the skills and capabilities needed for these new jobs in Astoria, providing an economic boost to the region.”

Kaela Mainsah, vice president of NYPA’s Environmental Justice program, said, “This partnership with the Variety Boys & Girls Club is about making STEM learning fun and engaging, helping to build the dynamic and diverse future workforce that will be needed to meet New York State’s ambitious clean energy targets. By connecting energy professionals who have interesting and meaningful jobs that involve technical and scientific skills, we hope the students will be inspired to choose a career pathway in a STEM field. Some students may even learn that their hobby of flying or building drones could lead to a life-long energy career.”


About the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens

The Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens serves over 4,000 young people each year, and the facility is open to the community 7 days a week. The space includes an indoor swimming pool, makerspace lab, computer room, teaching kitchen, gym, auditorium, art studio, dance studio, film studio, and outdoor playground. Programming serves all children (ages 6-18) including homework help, swimming and sports, coding, engineering, gourmet cooking, drama, dance, media production and so much more.

About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.

About Con Edison

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $65 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.4 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit

About 174 Power Global

174 Power Global is a leading solar and energy storage company that is wholly owned by the Hanwha Group. With deep expertise across the full spectrum of the project development cycle, 174 Power Global works closely with utilities, landowners, local communities, financial investors, and other partners to build highly productive, utility scale and C&I solar power plants throughout North America. Since its formation in 2017, 174 Power Global has signed nearly 2 gigawatts (GW) of power purchase agreements and has more than 6 GW of additional projects in the development pipeline. 174 Power Global’s name was inspired by the 174 petawatts (PW) of power the earth receives from the sun at any moment. For more information, visit:

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