Mayra Gonzalez, Outreach Specialist at Energy Resource Center’s Denver Office, will be part of a panel focused on youth and employment at an upcoming event organized by Denver’s Mile High Youth Corps. We asked her 8 questions about her time with MHYC, her role at ERC, and what the future holds for young adults who want to work in the energy industry.
ERC: Tell us a little about your journey to the Outreach Specialist position at ERC Denver. How did you get here?
When I first came to ERC I was hired on as a WX Tech. I loved working out in the field doing all the hands-on tasks, learning from great teachers. I worked in that position for a little over a year then recently, after we returned from quarantine, I was offered a new position in the office as client service. I looked at it as learning a new trade that I would take on, take in, and use. As I learned my way around the office with client interaction I knew my calling was to do something more with it. Outreach found me and allowed me to help people in my community.
ERC: As a Mile High Youth Corps Alum, how did your time with MHYC prepare you for your current role?
MHYC prepared me for my current role by offering me different job trainings, such as professionalism and just how to grow as a young adult. MHYC definitely helped me see that what I wanted was to continue in a nonprofit.
ERC: What is your favorite thing about what you do with ERC Denver?
By far my favorite thing about what I do at ERC is being “that person” – the one that has that interaction with future clients, especially our non-English speakers, giving them help on home efficiency. I love being able to help and to see it in its work.
ERC: When it comes to employment for young adults, what are some of the challenges that we should know about?
That they are still young, still learning themselves and learning how to strive in a career. Young adults are all different and all learn differently. Not everyone has a great support system at home so to be more understanding.
ERC: To build a better future for young adults, what should we be focusing on?
“The push”, or should I say, the motivation. Give young adults motive to keep coming back, you want them to know they are more than just a number, they are a person that works hard to make a living and strive in their everyday life.
ERC: Where do you see the opportunity for young people when it comes to getting into the energy industry?
As of now, solar and wind are the future, so young people should see this as a door opener to make their way up.
ERC: Tell us about the people that have influenced you. Who are they and how did they contribute to who you are today?
I have had many blessings/influencers in my life that have made me the person I am, but the most recent ones would have to be: My wife of 6 years, she helped me up when I was circling down; My principal, regardless if I had to work full time to provide for my family she never gave up on helping me finish high school; Nick Brattin, he was the program manager for MHYC and he became a father-like figure and pushed me to be my very best, to become a buffalo, not a cow, to push past the thunderstorm. These people made me who I am today – a person with motivation, willing to help our low-income communities, my communities, and help them see the light through their very own dark tunnels.
ERC: On Wednesday, October 14, you will be speaking on a panel called “Keys to Success: Youth + Employment”, how can people tune in to hear you and the other panelists?
Anyone interested would need to register. The panel is free. Here is the link.