LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The Lansing Board of Water and Light said it’s trying to attract more high schoolers to the energy field and they claim an on-going job program has done just that.

Members of the program shared that more than 100 students have gone through their 1st STEP program. 30 of those students stayed on to be employees. Dominic Brito is a graduate turned mentor in the program and said it was a fast track to start his career.

“I wanted to see if a career in IT would be a good fit for me. I knew it was going to be a field that was always going to need people. Just like Board of Water and Light, people are always going to need power, people are always going to need water,” he said.

Brito first joined BWL’s 1st STEP program in 2016. With five years of experience at the utility company, he’s giving back as a mentor in the program.

“Even though sometimes the tasks are difficult, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “When you pick up on these skills, you can use them anywhere in life.”

The 1st STEP program began in 2008 and is now in its 13th year. Geared towards high school seniors, officials said it introduces them to the work force early, helping them with letters of recommendation and interviews. Once they are accepted into the program, students are exposed to 12 position types, from IT to plant maintenance.

Dawn Plenar is the program facilitator and said not only does it help bring in local talent into the energy field, its also a fulfilling experience.

“I mean our tag line is hometown people, hometown power so we are reaching right into our own hometown,” she said. “It’s like a proud mama moment. I really love seeing them in the program and if we can scoop them up and have them as employees, that’s amazing.”

Now, a new generation of students is going through the program. Carlos Solis-Piler, a senior at Waverly High School, is one of them. Just two months into the program, Solis-Piler said his future plans are clear: To get into construction with ambitions of become an architect.

“Looking forward to just getting more work experience and putting it into my resume and stuff like that for any future jobs,” he said.

Staff with the program said that students come from all around Mid-Michigan: Holt, East Lansing, Lansing, just to name a few places.