A student’s life-changing internship

Local high school juniors can apply for summer internships through Feb. 3

Traditional summer jobs for high school students might involve bagging groceries or waiting tables. Haley Ripps took a non-traditional route to gain experience in engineering. Ripps, a Southwest High School senior, spent last summer working with our Environmental and Power Generation teams in our Student Assistance for Education (SAFE) program.

“I had a life-changing experience last summer,” said Haley. “I got a lot of hands-on experience and expanded my engineering knowledge. I got paid to learn some things that I was already required to learn to become an engineer. And, rather than getting paid minimum wage, I got paid good money to do so. Plus, I had a lot of fun doing it. That’s the best way to learn!”

SAFE Interns like Haley gain hands-on experience with a mentor through a paid summer internship, starting at $10 hourly, and receive a $5,000 scholarship.

During her internship, Haley learned about welding, shadowed our machinists, and picked up some maintenance skills at Calaveras Power Station. She also worked with our Environmental team to inspect the areas where run-off water goes into our cooling lakes. And, she learned a lot about safety – our company’s top priority. Haley enjoyed working closely with employees, including her mentor, Interim Plant Director Trish Villa.

(Image) Haley Welding
Welding was one of several skills that Haley picked up during her SAFE internship last summer.

“Trish was awesome! If I had any questions, she was always there to help me,” said Haley. “I was able to connect with her on a personal and professional level.”

“I was impressed how driven and responsible that Haley is for such a young age,” said Villa. “She wasn’t intimidated by any of the projects we gave her. Every project she worked on was successful.”

Haley plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering and minor in electrical engineering. She’s a few months from graduation and so far has been accepted to Texas A&M and UTSA. She’s still deciding where to attend college, but she’s already set her sights on working here after she gets her college degree.

“This internship has helped me get a foot in the door to hopefully work at CPS Energy,” she said. “CPS Energy is a really great company. Not only are there great benefits, but they really care about their employees.”

Do you know a local high school junior who would like to be part of our summer SAFE intern team? Tell them to contact their high school counselor or visit to apply online by Feb. 3. There are several available internships with various teams, including Power Generation, Energy Distribution, and Gas Delivery. Students also can apply for internship in accounting, legal, auditing or a field their interested in related to the utility industry.

Our SAFE program is designed to promote higher education for professional careers in public utilities. Students are eligible to apply if they are residents of San Antonio and live in a household that receives gas or electric service from us. Students are selected based on their application, interview, references and ability to meet all required criteria. Haley is just one of more than 140 interns who have been equipped for success since the program started in 1992. In recent years, 100 percent of SAFE students have graduated from high school. Check out our other blog posts about summer interns.

Sam Taylor

Sam is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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