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Virtual field trips bring industry education into Ohio classrooms

The Ohio Energy Project has been live-streaming virtual field trips since 2020 to continue showcasing engineering careers during the pandemic to the next generation.

FINDLAY, Ohio — Field trips were the best part of school, right?

Getting out of the classroom for a day, seeing cool stuff in person.

But how do field trips work today with so many pandemic protocols?

One Energy in Findlay hosted a Careers in Engineering field trip at its North Findlay campus Wednesday.

But the middle and high school audience was not here in person. Rather, they were watching virtually.

The Ohio Energy Project, which usually hosts these field trips in person adapted to the ongoing pandemic last year by hosting these visits via live stream.

Along with lowering the costs of the visits for the schools, it also expanded how many classrooms can participate.

"Typically on a field trip, we would be limited to schools that would be about 45 minutes away. But with this program, we are able to open it to the entire state. So we have 184 classes registered to participate in today's program," said Sue Tenney, education director at the Ohio Energy Project.

The Ohio Energy Project says it is vital to get the younger generation interested in potential engineering careers early.

For the people already in the field, it's a wonderful experience explaining what they do to these curious minds.

"Also keeps a fresh and excited perspective on things as well as what kind of silly question will they come up with that, 'Oh yeah! Here's how we can answer that to a kid!' And talk about it with them and really broaden our audience in who we're trying to reach," said Duncan Penizotto, the education engineer at One Energy.

Now, the Ohio Energy Project is now hosting multiple virtual field trips every year.

With these virtual field trips, they can host more students than ever before, and introduce a whole new generation to potential careers in engineering.

"This particular program is focused on skilled trades and promoting those programs. That, really, the utility and the energy industry is in desperate need for skilled trade workers. So, that's what we're here promoting," said Tenney.