Duke Energy Florida awards $655,000 in workforce grants to help job seekers and students skill up for employment

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  • Nineteen workforce development programs receive awards.

  • Grants support training and education programs for energy sector jobs.

  • Funds new diversity program to attract and train minorities and women.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Duke Energy Florida is awarding $655,000 in grants to 19 workforce development and education programs as the region tackles economic disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic.

The grants support education and training programs that address the most pressing skills gaps in communities served by Duke Energy Florida, as well as programs to cultivate the energy sector’s future workforce.

“At Duke Energy, we believe philanthropic giving is important to help our cities, our towns and our communities not only survive the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also grow and thrive,” said Catherine Stempien, state president Duke Energy Florida. “During these unprecedented times, attracting, training and educating a diverse workforce for the future with skills employers need, can help our communities emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient.”

In recent years, Duke Energy has given millions of dollars to bolster organizations that are preparing to meet the industry’s transformation and evolving customer expectations. One of those organizations is Lake-Sumter State College, which received $120,000 this year to continue support for the college’s Increasing Access to Energy Technology Programs and Careers.

“We are incredibly grateful to Duke Energy for their generous and ongoing support of our energy programs,” said Stan Sidor, president of Lake-Sumter State College. “Our strong partnership allows us to offer an industry-leading education for our students who can seamlessly transition into high-wage jobs in the energy industry. We believe our program is second to none in providing an expansive and in-depth curriculum for line workers and relay technicians.”

Also, St. Petersburg College is a 2020 recipient of a $100,000 award to support the launch of the Diversity in Energy Initiative in partnership with Duke Energy Florida. The program will target and recruit historically underserved lower-income, minority and female populations for careers in the energy field and connect them to related educational pathways.

"We are proud to be able to exercise our relationships to bring awareness and access across our communities, especially in underserved areas," said Matthew Liao-Troth, St. Petersburg College’s vice president of Academic Affairs. "This career nationally averages an annual salary of over $77,000, and it is in demand locally and regionally. We expect to have many successful graduates of the program."

Grant Recipients, Programs, Awards

Tampa Bay area

  • St. Petersburg College Foundation – Diversity in Energy Initiative, ($100,000).
  • University of South Florida Foundation – Advancing STEM Skills and Environmental Education Across Generations ($75,000).
  • Pasco-Hernando State College Foundation – Elevating Engineering Achievement and Career Attainment ($42,000).
  • South Florida State College Hardee Campus – Powerline System Simulators: Expanding the Learning Experience ($14,150).
  • AmSkills Apprenticeship Foundation – Innovation and Manufacturing Academy ($22,500).
  • Citrus County Education Foundation – Foundation for Success projects ($11,000).
  • United Way of Citrus County – Powering the Workforce ($9,000).

Greater Orlando area

  • Lake-Sumter State College Foundation – Increasing Access to Energy Technology Programs and Careers ($120,000).
  • University of Central Florida Foundation – College of Engineering and Computer Science program support ($75,000).
  • Valencia College Foundation – Duke Energy Scholarships program ($50,000).
  • Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando – Scholarships and student programing ($20,000).
  • The Education Foundation of Osceola County – Career Pipelines ($20,000).
  • Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida – Workforce Jumpstart ($10,000).
  • Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools – Grants for Great Ideas and STEM learning ($5,000).
  • Futures Inc. – ENVIRO STEM ($5,000).
  • United Against Poverty – Success Training Employment Program ($5,000).

Greater Tallahassee area

  • Boys & Girls Club of North Central Florida – Synergy ($25,850).


  • Consortium of Florida Education Foundation – Increasing the Impact of Florida’s Local Education Foundations on Classroom Investments ($27,500).
  • Florida Chapter of American Association of Blacks in Energy – Ninth Annual Youth Energy Academy, Second Annual Energy Academy and scholarships ($18,000).

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Allison Barker