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New employee got her start as SAFE intern
By Sam Taylor on January 25, 2017
Local high school juniors can apply for summer internships through Feb. 3
Tania Hernandez remembers her first summer working around big and powerful machines at Calaveras Power Station. As an intern, Hernandez didn’t shy away from a learning experience even if that meant helping an employee with maintenance checks on a 20-story boiler. The fireball inside the boiler heats up to 3,000 degrees to turn water into high pressure steam. On a hot summer day, temperatures outside the boiler can easily hit triple digits. Instead of complaining, Hernandez watched and learned how to safely work in those conditions.
“I learned a lot about working safely when I was an intern with Power Generation and gained a new perspective,” she said. “An injury can happen anywhere at any moment. Safety has to be top priority.”
As an engineering associate, Hernandez continues to apply her positive work ethic and safety knowledge on the Enterprise & Public Safety team. She’s worked on various projects, including development and implementation of a new Behavior-Based Safety App. Employees use the app in the field to identify and report safety hazards.
“I have always been passionate about helping people,” she said. “I think I’m in a great position to help employees get home safely to their families.”
The 24-year-old didn’t start her budding career overnight. She took initiative about six years ago while at Burbank High School to apply for a summer internship with our Student Assistance For Education (SAFE) program. SAFE interns get hands-on experience with a mentor through a paid summer internship, starting at $10 hourly, and receive a $5,000 scholarship.
“When I first applied, I never really thought it would grow into a career,” said Hernandez. “I was just looking for scholarships. I remember talking to other students about the internship, but they didn’t want to waste their time with essays. They didn’t think they had a chance to get chosen, but you never know unless you try.”
Tania was selected for SAFE in 2009 and interned every summer until she graduated from UTSA in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. On-the-job training in Power Generation, Energy Supply and Market Operations, and Integrated Resource Planning prepared her for a career at CPS Energy.
“As a SAFE intern, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of employees with various perspectives,” she said. “It helped me determine what I really wanted to do. I learned that I have to work hard no matter where I’m at in my career. It’s important to build your own brand, be personable and relate to others. It’s also important to be willing to learn something new.”
Do you know a local high school junior who is eager to learn something new and start building their career? Tell them to contact their high school counselor or visit cpsenergy.com/SAFE to apply online for a SAFE internship by Feb. 3.