PGE Project Zero

Project Zero is our commitment to the youth in our community. A robust program that aids them in learning about climate change science, exploring clean energy and making a positive impact on the planet through stewardship and internship programs.

Why Project Zero? Why now?

Climate change is impacting our communities, and young people are demanding action and want to be part of the solution. Project Zero is our commitment to engaging students in learning about climate science and clean energy, providing green job opportunities for young adults disconnected from work and school and investing in greenspace development in communities disproportionately feeling the impacts of climate change.

Through powerful partnerships, Project Zero – an award-winning program – empowers young adults and students to create cleaner, greener and more equitable communities. Change won’t happen overnight. This commitment is a multi-pronged, multi-year approach to supporting and partnering with the communities where we live, work and play. Stay tuned here and on our social media channels to follow our progress.

Innovative philanthropy

Recognizing the program’s unique approach to climate education and community giving, the Portland Business Journal awarded Project Zero a 2022 Innovation in Philanthropy Award. We’re proud of Project Zero’s powerful results, and share this award with our partners who helped make the program a reality.

“My experience in the Climate Justice elective at McDaniel high school played an integral part in how I see environmental activism. Tackling the structural inequities and tragedies of climate change is not the work of any one person or even a single group of people, and it is essential that students receive adequate education and resources. I am grateful for the teachers’ and district’s efforts to create a safe space for students to connect with peers about our diverse range of experiences with the climate crisis. On a personal level, it was a great inspiration to the work in environmental and social justice that I hope to continue long into my career.”
– Rae Blackbird, McDaniel High School graduate, Portland Public Schools
PGE Project Zero

Funded in part by the PGE Foundation, Project Zero is focused on three impact areas:

Educating youth

Teaming up with Portland Public Schools to develop comprehensive K-12 open-source climate literacy curriculum and offering free online and in-school learning experiences.

Environmental stewardship

Investing in enhancing parks and greenspaces and improving air quality in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by climate change.

Workforce development

Young adults disconnected from work and school benefit from Project Zero’s green job internships with selected community partners.

Educating youth

PGE Project Zero starts with education. PGE teamed up with Portland Public Schools (PPS) in 2020 to announce the first-of-its-kind, comprehensive, K-12 open source climate literacy curriculum development. 

PGE is financially supporting PPS’s work and offering expert perspectives on how climate change impacts the energy sector to aid teachers and students as they discuss climate impacts and the clean energy future. In addition, PGE offers a variety of environmental activities, videos and lesson plans for the home PGE and is partnering with the Oregon Children’s Theatre, Dark Horse Comics, Mad Science and other partners to offer free safety and energy educational materials and interactive experiences.

Kids’ safety education

Show your kids how to use electricity safely and check out our free electricity education resources for families and teachers.

Learning from home

We offer variety of environmental activities and lesson plans and videos for students of all ages to keep students learning.

Partnering with Oregon Children’s Theatre

For the past decade we’ve joined forces with Oregon Children’s Theatre as a way to support local arts, creatively educate students and bring live theater to many students for the first time.

Could you be a Climate Keeper?

Meet the “Climate Keepers," a crew of young heroes who learn about environmental threats to their community and fight pollution together.

This educational comic book is designed to help young people, grades 4-8, better understand the effects of climate change and explore ways to make a positive impact.

Visit the Climate Keepers site PGE to download the comic in English or Spanish or to find teaching resources and student activities.

Environmental stewardship

Most low-income communities, Indigenous populations and communities of color are already experiencing firsthand the negative health and environmental impacts of climate change. Project Zero invests in enhancing parks and greenspaces and improving air quality in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by climate change. PGE works alongside longstanding partners, such as SOLVE and Friends of Trees, to engage Project Zero interns, PGE employees and customers in a variety of environmental stewardship events and programs.

Workforce development

Become a Project Zero intern

As part of our ongoing effort to empower young people to create cleaner, greener communities, PGE Project Zero is recruiting 2023 interns! We’re looking for young adults age 20 to 24, not currently enrolled in school and/or disconnected from a meaningful career pathway, who are seeking ways to help address climate change.

If you’d like to jump start your career in the green jobs sector or if you know a young adult who might be a great fit, please contact Taaj Armstrong

If accepted, interns will partner with a select group of community organizations like Columbia Slough Watershed Council PGE, Forest Park Conservancy PGEFriends of Trees PGE, Camp ELSO PGE and Verde PGE.

After completing the program, PGE Project Zero interns have the opportunity to pursue employment with one of our Destination Employers, like City of Roses Disposal and Recycling PGE, Clackamas Water Environmental Services PGE, DeSantis Landscape PGE, Imagine Energy PGE, Treecology PGE, or PGE PGE.

Host a Project Zero intern or become a Destination Employer

Are you a community organization focused on conservation, stewardship or environmental justice? Do you want to help prepare young adults for the green jobs of tomorrow? Contact Melissa Dubois to learn more about hosting an intern at your organization or becoming a destination employer. Sign the destination employer pledge PGE if you’re ready to join the Project Zero family.

Project Zero interns give back

In 2021, the second group of Project Zero interns began an intensive six-month internship with community-based environmental organizations, doing purpose-driven work.

"It is a fantastic idea to join Project Zero and go through one of the internships. You get a lot of exposure to a bunch of different potential career fields. During my time with Project Zero, I learned about wastewater management; and I’m looking to get more involved in that field. I get to spend a lot of time out in green spaces and I’m doing work that positively impacts the local community. It gives me a lot of fulfillment and pride that I get to be involved in this kind of work".

– Ellie Taylor, PGE Project Zero intern with Play Grow Learn

PROJECT ZERO is a registered trademark of International Designs Corporation