(PLAINFIELD) – Duke Energy has awarded grants totaling $103,397 to six Indiana organizations to promote workforce development and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education opportunities.
“The energy industry is changing rapidly and we need highly skilled and trained workers to tackle these new challenges head-on,” said Stan Pinegar, Duke Energy state president for Indiana. “We have an obligation to help train and educate these workers to meet our customers’ expectations in the months and years ahead.”
Recent studies from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Labor show that 25 to 50 percent of utility employees will retire within the next five to 10 years. Among Duke Energy’s nearly 30,000 employees nationwide, 42 percent will be eligible to retire in five years and 54 percent will be eligible to retire in 10 years. “Eligible to retire” is defined as 55 years of age or older with at least five years of service.
Here are details about the six workforce development grants:
- Easterseals Crossroads in Hancock and Shelby counties – $30,000 – Easterseals Crossroads, through its workforce development program, will provide education and training to individuals with disabilities seeking potential careers in the energy industry.
- IU Kokomo in Cass and Whitley counties – $10,000 – The Kokomo Experience and You program provides all undergraduate students with opportunities to participate in learning experiences by immersing them in businesses and nonprofit enterprises.
- Tippecanoe School Corporation in Tippecanoe County – $19,500 – The Greater Lafayette Career Academy’s engineering students will gain industry experience through placements with partner organizations and earn college credits through early college and/or dual credit agreements. The engineering curriculum requires students to use advanced hardware and software, which the project will also provide.
- Indiana State University in Vigo County – $12,500 – This grant will help build a vocational training certificate program for North Vigo High School. It will provide hands-on training in electronics and energy to improve job readiness for skilled workers in the community.
- Workforce Network Inc. in Vigo County – $21,347 – The Duke Energy Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) challenge invites teams from nine high schools to participate in energy sector work-based learning experiences through a STEM summer camp, classroom speakers, field trips and work experiences.
- TechnoKats robotics team in Kokomo – $10,000 – TechnoKats, which inspires and motivates high schoolers to become interested in science and technology, had been housed at the Duke Energy operations office in Kokomo. Due to renovations at the center, the team will need to relocate. This grant will help the robotics team find a new location for building its 2019 robot.