Next Gen Professional Development Program for Students

Announcing New Buildings Institute’s Next Gen Program

Next Gen is a professional development program of New Buildings Institute for college students, designed to to foster the next generation of diverse buildings industry leaders, and in doing so, bolster inclusivity in the buildings industry at large. Over the course of the 5-month program, students will work with each other as part of the Next Gen cohort and have the opportunity for advanced learning, resume building, mentorship, networking and more. Next Gen was inspired by the Getting to Zero Forum scholarship program that supported 19 students and young professionals to attend the Forum in 2019.

Scholarship recipients at the 2019 Getting to Zero Forum in Oakland, CA

Low-income communities and people of color are most at risk of being left behind by the zero energy and electrification movement, which will likely result in significant financial hardship unless programs are planned with equity at their core. Building electrification policies can have unintentional but harmful consequences for low-income residents and people of color. The Greenlining Institute’s Electrification report indicated that as more buildings go all-electric, and the cost of maintaining gas systems continues rising, those costs will be paid disproportionately by low-income people (70% of whom are renters, with little control over the types of energy their homes use). This is only one example of decisions being made at the highest levels of utilities, government, and other institutions that would be better addressed as a more inclusive and equity-focused sector. The industry must be more racially diverse to better ensure all people can access and benefit from building efficiency and electrification measures.

The number of jobs in this industry is also likely to increase in coming years – as a sector, we need to ensure students of color have the knowledge, resources, and relationships to succeed, join leadership ranks, and make high-level decisions that will make buildings both an asset to the climate and a healthy place for people to live, work, and learn.

What does the program offer?

  • Education: monthly discussion groups facilitated by industry experts, access to an ASHRAE curriculum, and the opportunity to attend the 2021 Getting to Zero Forum.
  • Mentorship: one-on-one mentorship with an industry leader aligned with students’ professional aspirations
  • Professional development: resume building opportunities like writing a blog for the Getting to Zero Forum website, presenting a poster at the Getting to Zero Forum, and more
  • Networking: connecting with NBI’s “Influencer Network” of over 4,000 professionals
  • Cohort building: the opportunity to build a peer-support network with cohort members from all over the country

How can I get involved in the program?

  • Applying: if you are a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited institution in North America who is interested in participating, submit an application by April 30th. Applications from students of color will be prioritized but the program is open to all. You can find more information on the application page.
  • Mentoring: if you are an industry professional who can commit 1-2 hours a month for one-on-one mentorship and engagement in one of five monthly discussion groups, submit your information to be paired with a student. You can find more information on the sponsorship and mentorship page.
  • Sponsoring: if you work for an organization that is interested in furthering inclusivity in the industry by sponsoring students to participate in the Next Gen program, reach out to Meghan Humphreys at You can find more information about the benefits of supporting the program on the sponsorship and mentorship page.

You can also support the program by getting the word out about the program. We want to reach as many students as possible with the opportunity. You can share the postcard below with your networks.

Next Gen Postcard

Testimonials from the 2019 Forum Scholarship Recipients

“I want to express my appreciation for NBI to offer me this learning/sharing opportunity. I sincerely enjoyed every session and talking to people who share the same vision is just so much fun!”

“I feel extremely grateful to have been able to attend the Getting to Zero Forum. Every session was interesting, informative, and engaging. I really appreciate the opportunity and can’t wait for the next conference!”

“Thank you for providing the opportunity to attend the Getting to Zero Forum. The ability to learn from industry leaders will prove to be a valuable resource for years to come.”


Email Leada Fuller-Marashi at