Power lines

As companies and governments look for ways to save energy and money, new career paths are opening up for people like Richard Quaofio.

Quaofio: “I’m originally from Ghana, and I grew up in a poor family.”

Quaofio received scholarships to pursue his master’s degree in mechanical engineering in the United States. But when he came to Washington, D.C. to start school two years ago, he struggled financially. He even needed to borrow dishes from a friend.

Quaofio: “It was really terrible. Financially, it was so terrible.”

While he was trying to focus on classes, he worried how he would pay for basic expenses – even his next meal.

Quaofio: “I have to be torn between these two things. And my concentration on my studies was so bad.”

Things changed when he was accepted to a paid workforce development program run by the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility. During his internship, he collected and analyzed data about energy usage at the District’s water authority.

He says the experience not only eased his short-term financial stress, it set him on a new career path. He plans to further develop his expertise in energy efficiency – and help communities reap the benefits of saving energy.

Quaofio: “I love this. I’m passionate about it. I’m excited about it. I’m settled. This is the path for me.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.