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 volunteerism and internship programs.

Why Project Zero? Why now?

Right 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 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.

“Project Zero is the latest example of PGE’s collaborative community leadership. With youth at the center, all partners worked together to develop an approach and program that would amplify historically and currently marginalized young adults, providing supportive and challenging work experiences that will prepare them to use transferable skills in a future career and to be responsible stewards and leaders of the environment. It is a privilege to get to work with and continue to learn alongside the interns, PGE and this community of practice on this project.”
– Elaine Philippi of In4All, collaborated on the development of PGE Project Zero’s green job internship program and part of the oversight team for the internship program
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.

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 will 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 January 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 is partnering with the Oregon Children’s Theatre, Mad Science and other partners to offer free safety and energy educational materials and interactive experiences. 

This commitment is a multi-pronged, multi-year approach to supporting and partnering with the communities where we live, work and play.

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.

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.

Volunteers restore wetland habitat to create outdoor learning space

In November, volunteers from PGE and partner organizations worked to clear invasive Himalayan blackberry from a wetland near Clear Creek Middle School. The project, part of PGE Project Zero, aims to increase outdoor science opportunities for students across the Gresham-Barlow School District. Once developed, it will also help connect families and students with Oregon’s Outdoor School PGE program.

“This project provides an opportunity for students who do not regularly have exposure to the outdoors to apply science concepts in a natural environment,” said Carla Gay, Gresham-Barlow School District’s executive director of innovations and partnerships. “By creating an easily accessible space at the school, we are broadening the scope of what is possible for our students while laying down pathways to career success for our community’s future scientists.” 

Workforce development

As part of our ongoing effort to empower young people to create cleaner, greener communities, PGE Project Zero is recruiting 2021 interns! We’re looking for young adults age 20 to 24 who are disconnected from work and/or school and seeking meaningful 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 Verde PGE, Play Grow Learn PGEForest Park Conservancy PGEColumbia Slough Watershed Council PGE and Friends of Trees PGE.

After completing their program, PGE Project Zero interns have the opportunity to pursue employment with one of our Destination Employers, like City of Roses Disposal and Recycling, DeSantis Landscape, Imagine Energy, Treecology, or PGE. Help us prepare young adults for the jobs of tomorrow by becoming a Destination Employer. Sign the pledge PGE and join the Project Zero family, today.

A conversation with PGE Project Zero intern Adam Baek

In 2020, the first group of Project Zero interns completed an intensive six-month internship with community-based environmental organizations, doing purpose-driven work. “PGE has given us interns a great opportunity to become contributing members of our community. It’s refreshing to have a company give people of color an opportunity at diversifying a traditionally white workplace. Each day at my internship I work with community organizations that have green workspace opportunities for underserved youth. While teaching myself and others about native plant species and eco systems, I also learn professional development and the importance of diversity in creative processes.”

Last year’s projects

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Project Zero interns gather with their PGE Champions at Nadaka Park, City of Gresham, as part of their community impact day in October 2020.

Ian Perez, Project Zero intern leads a group of interns on a social-distanced “Talk and Tour” of Cully Park as part of his internship with Verde. These experiences gave interns an opportunity to strengthen their public speaking skills while sharing about their host organization.

Project Zero intern, Ivan Perez, works side by side with his PGE Champion, Christina Cabrales to clear, prep and plant at Nadaka Park, City of Gresham.

Project Zero intern, Justin Zigler, works side by side with his PGE Champion, Alex Banicki at Nadaka Park, City of Gresham. This is great preparation for Justin who will be working at PGE Faraday Park starting this May as his post-internship next step.

Carmellē Muñoz, PGE employee, doing a water filtration project with Bridger School students at the Portland Public Schools and PGE partnership launch, part of a PGE Educates initiative.

PGE employees and friends working on a clean-up project with SOLVE.