The SFPUC and its social impact partners welcomed back the students of John O’Connell High School on Friday, August 23, highlighting another year of collaboration with Mission District public high school.
The SFPUC’s private contracting firms, Stantec and McMillen Jacobs, provide funding support, technical expertise and volunteer work to help students at John O’Connell learn more about the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure and prepare for them for a professional career in the industry.
On Friday, volunteers from Stantec and McMillen Jacobs will enjoy breakfast with the students, help set up classrooms and prepare for the new school year by delving into some of the programs and project-based curriculum that will be taught. The welcome event will take place at 7 a.m. on August 23 at the John O’Connell High School campus on 2355 Folsom Street.
Along with welcoming the students back, the social impact partner firms helped with weeklong prep work at the high school earlier this month, providing approximately 30 hours of volunteer time assisting teachers and administrators.
In July, the SFPUC and the JV Stantec and McMillen Jacobs worked with teachers from John O’Connell for a weeklong paid externship. The externship program supported teachers to integrate water, power, and sewer operations into project-based learning curricula for high school students. The teachers learned about the combined sewer system, the Living Machine, water resource planning, environmental justice, and a range of other topics that will inform their teachings for this school year.
Additionally, the social impact firms will support a visit to Camp Mather and the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir for a group of 9th grade students and their chaperones next May. The firms will also offer funding support for classroom materials and other school needs that support studies in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
In prior years, the SFPUC worked with John O’Connell High School on clean power educational programs, which included renewable energy teachings in the classroom, installation of solar panels, discussion of best communication practices and studies on social media campaigns for CleanPowerSF.
The collaboration with John O’Connell is part of the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership Program, which invites private sector firm partners to give back locally to the communities in which they are performing work on behalf of the SFPUC. The SFPUC is the first public utility in the country to implement a social impact program that advances corporate social responsibility as a part of its competitive bidding process for professional services, alternative delivery and energy contracts valued at $5 million or more.
The SFPUC’s contract firm partners are currently working on the Folsom Street Stormwater Improvement Program, an effort to increase flood resilience efforts in Inner Mission neighborhood surrounding 17th, 18th and Folsom Streets, which has been historically subject to flooding during moderate to heavy storms. John O’Connell High School is located nearby to that work site.
Other examples of the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership program include the Bayview Bistro, an open-air marketplace featuring local food vendors, the Maisin Scholarship, which support students who are determined to achieve their academic goals beyond high school, and CityWorks, which offers paid internships for residents in the City’s Southeast communities.