Silicon Valley-based energy company launches internship program honoring late Colin Powell

11 City College of New York students were brought to Bloom Energy's San Jose headquarters to live and work as a cohort group

Kristen Sze Image
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Bay Area company launches internship program honoring Colin Powell
Bloom Energy in San Jose launches college internship program honoring late Secretary of State Colin Powell and to help diversify the tech workforce.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As America's top colleges wrestle with creating a more even playing field, Silicon Valley is doing the same.

For decades, top companies only recruited from leading universities.

A survey this summer from educational tech company Chegg shows that Facebook's top feeder schools for interns are: Stanford, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Waterloo in Canada and MIT.

MORE: Bloom Energy in San Jose builds new lab to expand COVID-19 testing

But San Jose-based green energy company, Bloom Energy, is trying to change that model with a new partnership with a community college, the same one that the late Secretary of State Colin Powell attended.

Bloom Energy's founder and CEO, KR Sridhar, and Bloom summer intern, Nymul Islam, joined ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze on our weekday 3 pm. show "Getting Answers" on Tuesday to discuss this innovative internship program that aims to diversity the Silicon Valley workforce.

You can the full interview in the media player above

In this first year of this pilot program, 11 students from the City College of New York were brought to Bloom's San Jose headquarters this summer to live and work as a cohort group.

Alongside other interns from leading universities, they learned skills in mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineering, human resources, marketing, finance, legal, business and data analytics and information technology.

MORE: Silicon Valley Leadership Group's former CEO Carl Guardino Lands at Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy partnered with the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York, from which the late Secretary graduated in 1958.

Powell was on Bloom's board and its mission and values officer before his passing in 2021.

"We're proud to honor General Powell's legacy and continue his mission, by providing a platform for future leaders," Sridhar said.

MORE: Colin Powell remembered as statesman and reluctant warrior at funeral

For Islam, who grew up studying by candlelight whenever electricity would go out in Bangladesh, spending this summer working in clean technology has been transformative.

"When I immigrated to the U.S. and found out they had constant 24/7 electricity, I was amazed by it." Islam says he had never left New York City before this internship, and this experience has opened the door to future career opportunities in Silicon Valley.

Bloom Energy hopes to continue the program yearly and inspire other tech companies to expand its pipeline of diverse talent.

You can watch "Getting Answers" with Kristen Sze weekdays at 3 p.m. on ABC7, and wherever you stream.

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