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Symphony Workforce Challenge

Symphony Workforce Challenge

Project Overview

OPPD sponsored and participated in a pilot with Symphony Workforce Development Corporation, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Valley, Neb. Symphony Workforce specializes in empowering students by providing access to some of the region’s most dynamic companies and startups, and incentivizing young people to look inward to discover a career path that aligns with who they are at their core.

Their gamified mobile platform allows students and young people (ages 13-30) to compete in structured challenges to solve real-world problems put forward by businesses and organizations. Aside from crucial self-discovery, students compete for cash prizes, virtual internships and thousands in scholarship dollars.

The Challenge: Change Customer Behaviors

OPPD engaged college students, and high school and middle school students in the United States. As a leader in Nebraska energy production, we asked students to use innovation to solve a “right now” problem. When there is an event or crisis, whether manmade or one by nature, like the recent polar vortex, it requires everyone to get involved- all hands on deck. These events impact everyone, regardless of social economic status, geographic location, ethnicity, gender, or creed.

Challenge Dates: March 25-31, 2021

During this one-week challenge, participants created a scalable solution for customers to reduce their energy consumption (gas and electric) by 10% in a 6-hour period. Solutions will help utilities when faced with peak demand or during weather challenges, such as the polar vortex.

The top six teams were awarded cash prize dollars and have the opportunity for post-secondary scholarships.

Challenge Winners

Congratulations #OPPDEnergyChallenge Winners. 1st place: I'm so confused 2nd place: Sanguine Thinkers 3rd place: The Rocket 4th place: The Fake Dental Institute 5th place: Et Eo Solo 6th place: Westside Warriors

1st place: I'm so confused - Kentucky
Prize: $1,000

2nd place: Sanguine Thinkers - Nebraska
Prize: $1,000

3rd place: The Rocket - Texas
Prize: $400

4th place: The Fake Dental Institute - Nebraska
Prize: $400

5th place: Et Eo Solo - Nebraska
Prize: $100

6th place: Westside Warriors - Nebraska
Prize: $100


The challenge was coordinated by Symphony Workforce, and was promoted and executed in collaboration with multiple OPPD business units (Human Capital, Public Affairs, Financial Services, Energy Delivery, Energy Production & Nuclear Decommissioning) as well as its Product Development & Marketing Division. 

Throughout the challenge, participating teams had the opportunity to engage with subject matter experts. Specifically, this challenge was geared toward energy efficiency, and guidance was provided by OPPD’s energy advisor.

The Process

  • Sign up on
  • Draft your team
  • Pick OPPD's challenge
  • Choose Eric as your OPPD energy advisor on the Find the Why platform. Eric is ready and willing to answer all your questions.
  • Follow the "roadmap" of questions to help you create your solution. 

Roadmap Questions

  • Why did you choose this Challenge?
  • Describe your solution.
  • What measures can be taken before an event, like the recent polar vortex, to prevent the need for rolling outages?
  • How will you get customers to participate in your solution? How will you communicate with energy customers that will invoke behavior change?
  • How will you communicate/update the customers on their impact on energy reduction?
  • How will you test your solution to show the energy reduction capabilities?
  • Describe how your solution differs depending on the type of home (e.g. apartment, house, mobile home, etc.).
  • Describe energy-reducing measures in your solution that are free or have a minimal cost.


Contact Us

Contact Eric, your energy advisor on Find the Why with any questions you may have.