Duke Energy Florida employees energize students during the Great American Teach-In in Tampa Bay

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ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - For more than two decades, Duke Energy Florida has sponsored the Great American Teach-In in the Tampa Bay area. This year, the tradition continues on Nov. 18.

Nearly 60 Duke Energy Florida employees will visit with students at 50 schools reaching approximately 250 classes throughout Tampa Bay.

“Our employees are passionate about giving back to our communities. We have volunteered more than 45,000 hours over the last five years alone. Education is an essential part of our charitable giving, and the Great American Teach-In is one of our employees' favorite ways to give back," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president – Florida. “By providing support to these types of programs, we help ensure local businesses have a pipeline to a diverse workforce in the future.”

As the sponsor of the event, Duke Energy Florida also provides 105,000 program flyers and 17,000 printed participant certificates to schools throughout Pasco and Pinellas counties.

The Great American Teach-In has been a Duke Energy commitment in Pinellas County since 1994.

At Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg, Duke Energy Florida staff will display a bucket truck and electric vehicle in addition to sharing information about the available careers in the Tampa Bay community. Tyrone Middle was specifically chosen because of its needs as a Title I school. Duke Energy has partnered with the school for many years as it has diligently worked to improve its overall school grade.

“I have participated in the Great American Teach-In for several years. Students now say ‘You’re the Duke Energy lady,’ when they see me. For me, this is the most rewarding type of volunteer work we do,” said Luisa Palomar-Walsh, a Duke Energy employee who is taking part for the eighth year. “Students are always eager to learn and interested in what we have to say. I feel like I am really making a difference in a child’s life.”

Duke Energy Florida’s commitment to education goes beyond its annual commitment to the Great American Teach-In.

This year, the Duke Energy Foundation announced it will contribute $267,000 to the Pinellas Education Foundation to establish after-school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at 44 schools in Pinellas County. Each school, all designated as Title I schools with a high population of children in need, will have two academies for a total of 88 programs.

More than 1,700 elementary and middle school students will have the opportunity to participate in the 26-week course, which includes hands-on engineering and technology work. The curriculum and all classroom supplies are funded through this grant. The after-school academies will supplement in-school academics and grow the students’ learning in a STEM-related course.

In 2014, Duke Energy Florida and its foundation made more than $4 million in charitable investments in Florida. Duke Energy Florida makes significant philanthropic investments in Florida communities supporting programs with a direct community impact, education, environmental, economic and workforce development.

In addition to this giving, Duke Energy employees contribute more than $400,000 to charitable causes and volunteer tens of thousands of hours to local charities each year.

About Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 23 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at www.duke-energy.com. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.