Central York High School officials had a bright idea.
Students need hands-on experience.
Businesses are clamoring for trained workers.
Central decided to address both needs by connecting students to a local electrical contractor who donated solar panels to the high school, creating the opportunity for students to help install the system on the rear of the campus and eventually monitor the power output.
"Sometimes you have to put the textbooks away and get their hands dirty," said assistant principal Barry Flicker.
Flicker helped organize the event with other staff members as a way to get students real-life experience, from students who want to get into electrical or engineering work to those who want to get into environmental careers.
Helping out: York-based Ascom Inc. electrical contractors provided the panels and labor, with students assisting in the installation. Ascom Vice President Jeff Georg said the panels had been sitting around, and it made more sense to use them for educational purposes.
With the panels expected to last 25 years, "it's not just this year's students that benefit," Georg said.
Georg and the high school staff said curriculum may be developed to go along with data of the panels' electrical output, which is relatively modest but will be used by the school. The school already has a geothermal cooling system as another environmentally friendly element, Flicker said.
Austin Zirkle, a sophomore, couldn't wait to get involved. He was one of the students out with a shovel during the installation, and he hopes to get into a career in construction.
"I like working with my hands," Austin said.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ydblogwork.