Duke Energy Renewables, AT&T offer $20,000 in scholarships to support diverse wind technology workforce in Oklahoma

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  • Scholarships will be awarded to High Plains Technology Center students enrolled in wind technology program in 2021 and 2022 semesters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. and DALLAS – Duke Energy Renewables, through the Duke Energy Foundation, and AT&T today announced $20,000 in student scholarships to High Plains Technology Center in Woodward, Okla., for students interested in pursuing wind turbine technology careers.

The Duke Energy Foundation awarded $10,000 to establish the Duke Energy Renewables Wind Energy Scholarship and AT&T contributed $10,000 as part of AT&T’s Renewable Energy Scholarship program. The mission of both programs is to establish a more diverse renewable energy workforce and create pathways to sustainable careers, especially among women and people of color.

“As commercial wind energy continues to grow across the country, creating a well-trained, diverse workforce of wind technicians to manage facilities and technology is more important than ever,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables. “We’re proud to support individuals interested in entering the renewable energy field, which will bring new talent and ideas to the industry.”

“As AT&T works toward carbon neutrality across our operations by 2035, we invest not only in renewable energy, but also in the people who bring clean power to the grid,” said Charlene Lake, Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP-Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T. “Since 2018, our scholarships have been an important source of support for the next generation of renewable energy leaders in the places where we buy clean energy. AT&T is excited to focus this round of scholarship funding on individuals traditionally underrepresented in the wind workforce, including women and people of color.”

The amount of wind energy connected to the grid has reached over 122 gigawatts in the U.S., resulting in the creation of thousands of new wind turbine technician positions – one of the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. While the field continues to grow, the diversity of individuals employed within has lagged. Racial and ethnic minorities and women are underrepresented compared to the U.S. population as a whole, making up only 31% and 25%, respectively, of the wind energy workforce, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Duke Energy Renewables and AT&T share the desire to narrow the opportunity gap for these individuals and are committed to providing the resources needed to bring more diversity to the field.

“This scholarship opportunity is another example that exemplifies how paramount renewable energy is for the United States and the importance of diversifying this growing career field. Having two powerful companies like Duke Energy Renewables and AT&T support these efforts shows the importance of change in one of the fastest job growth industries,” said Taylor Burnett, assistant superintendent, Business and Industry Services, High Plains Technology Center. “I know these scholarships will have an influence on our students’ lives, which in turn will have an impact on the future of renewable energy.”

Duke Energy Renewables and AT&T both support a cleaner energy future and renewable energy job creation in very meaningful ways. Duke Energy Renewables currently operates over 4,300 MW of wind and solar generation across the country. AT&T, as one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S., has invested in over 1.5 gigawatts of renewable energy through virtual power purchase agreements, including a 15-year agreement for 160 MW of Duke Energy Renewables’ most recent and largest wind site – 350-MW Frontier II in Kay County, Okla.

“Building and maintaining a cleaner energy future is a top priority and High Plains Technology Center is uniquely positioned to train the next generation of renewable energy technicians. We’re pleased to be able to work with AT&T and the center’s administration to help build a qualified workforce that can help achieve these goals,” said Fallon.

For more information about the Duke Energy Renewables Wind Energy scholarship or the AT&T Renewable Energy Scholarship through High Plains Technology Center, visit High Plains Technology Center’s Wind Training Program here.

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 Renewables

Duke Energy Renewables, a unit of Duke Energy Corporation, operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., with a total electric capacity of nearly 4,000 megawatts of nonregulated renewable energy. The power is sold to electric utilities, electric cooperatives, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers. The unit also operates energy storage and microgrid projects. Visit Duke Energy Renewables for more information. Duke Energy Corporation is one of the nation's top renewable energy providers, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity – nonregulated and regulated combined – by 2025.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is a Fortune 150 company – and one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. – headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. It employs 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, in addition to Duke Energy Renewables’ nonregulated capacity.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “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.

AT&T philanthropy and social innovation  

Stand for Equality is one of our core values at AT&T, and it’s the driving force behind our goal to make D&I both a business and a moral imperative, inside and outside our walls.

Our society doesn't work if it doesn't work equally for all. We recognize that inequalities are pervasive, and we have a role to play in helping to address them. That’s why we’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives, particularly amongst historically underserved populations. We have a long history of investing in projects that promote academic and economic achievement and addressing community needs that promote social justice and racial equality. With a financial commitment of more than $600 million through AT&T Aspire since 2008, AT&T has leveraged technology, relationships and social innovation to help give people – regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status – the opportunity to succeed.

Media contact: Jennifer Garber