ComEd's Black History Solar Spotlight program illuminates STEM careers for students

More than 60 Chicago area high school students participated in ComEd's fifth-annual Black History Month Solar Spotlight. The program aims to inspire and encourage the students' excitement in STEM careers and to show students how they can help others all over the world. ComEd's Nichole Owens, mentor Maya Garcia and student participant Olas Sulaimon joined us to chat about Solar Spotlight and about where the much-needed solar suitcases are headed.

Solar Spotlight is one of several programs ComEd has created to engage the next generation of local STEM talent and increase diversity in those fields. While demand for STEM professionals is growing in Illinois, African-Americans remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce. In 2018, African-Americans held less than 5 percent of STEM jobs in Illinois, despite making up more than 14 percent of the state's population, according to the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition.

More than 200 students have participated in the ComEd Solar Spotlight program for Black History Month over the past four years. It is the first in a series of STEM programs that ComEd leads each year. In the summer, ComEd's Icebox Derby will challenge Chicagoland girls to turn recycled fridges into electric racecars, and in September, ComEd will host a second Solar Spotlight program during Hispanic Heritage Month.

This segment was produced with and sponsored by ComEd.