Duke Energy Foundation awards $734,000 in grants to support workforce development in Florida

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  • 24 workforce development programs receive awards.

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

  • Funding supports efforts to boost training for minorities, women.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Duke Energy is investing $734,000 in strategic workforce development and education programs in Florida.

The Duke Energy Foundation grants will help job seekers and students who are members of underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities, to prepare for employment, primarily in the energy sector. This support will further bolster and expand the state's existing skilled workforce.

"These grants support vital programs and help develop a diverse workforce needed to strengthen our communities and economies today and in the future.” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president.

One of this year's recipients is the University of Florida and its Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The university is receiving a $100,000 grant to create the Energy Sustainability, Technology and Resiliency Testing Hub and Certificate Program.

“We greatly appreciate Duke Energy’s generosity and foresight in making this gift,” said Dr. Jonathan Scheffe, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Florida. “It will enable an exciting new pathway for students who want to build an engineering career in energy sustainability and resiliency. Students will learn about state-of-the-art, climate-friendly technologies that reflect the future needs of energy.”

The university plans to use the grant to provide scholarship opportunities for students who are earning a Sustainable and Resilient Energy Engineering Certificate at the University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.

All of the grants are administered through the Duke Energy Foundation, which is investing in workforce programs in the energy sector to help build the next generation workforce, as well as create access to training and job skills programs that meet community needs today.

Grant recipients, programs, awards


  • Florida Chapter of American Association of Blacks in Energy – 10th Annual Youth Energy Academy, Black Energy Awareness Month initiative and scholarships ($28,000)

Greater Tampa Bay area

  • AmSkills Inc. – AmSkills High School Pre-apprenticeship Program ($23,000)
  • Citrus County Education Foundation – Foundation for Success Projects ($6,000)
  • Florida Polytechnic University Foundation – Transformer and Transformer Stations for new Cybersecurity Engineering Program ($25,000)
  • Pasco-Hernando State College Foundation – Elevating Engineering Achievement, Career Attainment and Minority Student Readiness in Pasco and Hernando Counties ($40,000)
  • Pinellas County Urban League Inc. – Duke Energy Lineworker Diversity Initiative ($15,000)
  • Project Prosper – A financial literacy program tailored to the unique needs of refugees and immigrants ($10,000)
  • St. Petersburg College Foundation – Electrical Lineworker Program ($50,000)
  • University of South Florida Foundation – Call Me MISTER initiative aimed at increasing the number of male teachers of color in local elementary schools ($50,000)
  • South Florida State College Hardee Campus – Increasing Training Opportunities for Electrical Lineworker Students by Expanding Training Capacity and Improving Safety ($30,000)

Greater Orlando area

  • Adult Literacy League Inc. – Creating a Stronger Workforce Through Improved Literacy Program ($10,000)
  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida – Workforce Alliance for Youth ($20,000)
  • Boys and Girls Club of Volusia County – Junior Staff Program ($9,960)
  • Central Florida Urban League – Workforce Upskilling and Reskilling Program ($10,000)
  • Education Foundation of Osceola County  – Career Pipeline ($20,000)
  • Foundation for Seminole State College – Workforce Jumpstart 2021 ($25,000)
  • Hispanic Heritage Fund of Metro Orlando – Engineering scholarships and student programming ($24,000)
  • Lake-Sumter State College Foundation – Drone, Relay Tech and Lineworker Training Program for Energy Sector Workers ($75,000)
  • University of Central Florida – Support for College of Engineering and Computer Science Projects: Girls Excelling in Math and Science mentorship program, DE&I program and Senior Design Projects ($75,000)
  • Valencia College Foundation – Scholarships and Outreach for the Valencia College, Accelerated Skills Training, Electric Powerline Technician Program ($50,000)

Greater Tallahassee / Gainesville area

  • Boys and Girls Club of North Central Florida – BGC Energy Drone Program ($22,500)
  • Career Source North Florida – Power and Energy Program ($10,000)
  • Education Foundation of Gulf County – Science STEMulation ($5,000)
  • University of Florida – Energy Sustainability, Technology and Resiliency Testing Hub and Certificate Program ($100,000)

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 can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. 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
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