Mervo plumbing student examines pipe

BGE, Baltimore City Public Schools launch plumbing career program

New program at Mervo is next chapter in workforce development; “I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood that has a lot of opportunities and that’s why my internship at BGE meant so much to me”

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Firew Mengesha aspires to work in electric substations—and as a high school senior he already has relevant experience on his resume.

He’s one of 133 students from the Baltimore City Public Schools career technical education (CTE) programs who have participated in BGE’s Smart Energy Internship program since 2016. Fifteen students were ultimately hired as full-time employees after graduation.

Firew hopes to be number 16.

Mervo student speaks with CTE video production team
Firew Mengesha describes his experience as a BGE intern to student-run media from Edmonson-Westside High School’s CTE program

“Seeing the interns get hired made me want to be a part of the program,” he said. “This opportunity to change my life right out of high school touched me and has been a life-changing experience.”

That’s what inspired Firew, who will graduate from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School (Mervo) this spring, to return to BGE for more internship experience in summer 2020.

Firew exemplifies what success can look like when a motivated student takes advantage of his curriculum and the support of his teachers to position himself for an internship with BGE. His growth helped spur the next chapter of the partnership between Baltimore City Public Schools and BGE: the launch of a plumbing track at Mervo, announced formally during a Feb. 26 CTE programs showcase event at the school system’s headquarters.

BGE CEO speaks with CTE plumbing instructure
BGE CEO Carim Khouzami speaks with new plumbing teacher and Carver Vocational-Technical High School graduate Kibew Shelton

“This partnership helps talented students connect with opportunities to help them have a better future,” said BGE CEO Carim Khouzami, who joined BGE workforce development stakeholders at the event. “We are united in our desire to provide the best opportunities possible for these students and I look forward to what we can continue to accomplish together.”

According to the Greater Baltimore Committee, the area’s plumbing pipeline is severely depleted. This program provides an additional pathway into the trades and a well-paying career. BGE is also accelerating the pace of infrastructure work and plumbing skills are directly applicable to working on the gas system.

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises explained the importance of opportunity and corporate partnerships. “We are really committed to making sure that all of our young people have what they need and are able to enter careers,” she said in opening remarks to the more than 100 students, teachers, and other stakeholders who attended the event. “We are thrilled that our partner, BGE, is not only committed to Baltimore City but also committed to its young people and future citizens and workforce.”

More information about workforce development programs at BGE is available on