Duke Energy Awards $184,000 to WPCC

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WPCC-Receives-Duke-Energy-CC-Grant-100214-fnMORGANTON, N.C.Duke Energy and Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) recently announced a $184,000 investment from the Duke Energy Foundation. The funds will be used to meet the critical need of Mechatronics technicians as expressed by local industry, Burke County Public Schools, and economic development authorities by expanding and modernizing the Industrial Systems Technology Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program. Funds will be used to upgrade the College’s outdated machinery and acquire new advanced manufacturing equipment relevant to industry. Acquiring these new and updated mechanical resources will enable the College to train students in appropriate Mechatronics competencies.

Shown (l-r) at the grant presentation are Michael Daniels, WPCC Dean of Science, Engineering and Mathematics; Dr. Michael S. Helmick, WPCC President; Robin Nicholson, Duke Energy – District Manager, and Ronald F. Martin, WPCC Trustee Chair.

“The Duke Energy grant award will help WPCC continue to meet the workforce needs of local industry by offering a course of study that provides training for technicians who keep our plants and factories running at peak performance,” said Dr. Michael S. Helmick, WPCC President. “Duke Energy’s grant will be a tremendous benefit to the local economy as well as to the quality of life for our students completing this degree.  We are grateful to Duke Energy for this generous grant award.”

The Mechatronics program crosses a number of technical disciplines including electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, and power systems. Students who successfully complete the Mechatronics program could go to work for any one of a number of local companies earning significant salaries with excellent job security. The addition of this course of study back into the WPCC curriculum will continue to expand customized industry training, enhance the degree program, and expand programming for high school students who wish to enter the modern manufacturing workforce.

“Our partnership with Western Piedmont Community College develops a highly skilled workforce that will attract and retain business in the region for years to come,” said Paul Newton, Duke Energy’s state president – North Carolina.

This grant is part of Duke Energy’s $6.7 million investment in North Carolina’s Community Colleges’ focus on technical education and support of business and industry. Since 2004, Duke Energy has awarded $15 million in grants to 24 community colleges within the Duke Energy Carolinas service area. This new $6.7 million investment also includes community colleges located in the Duke Energy Progress service area.

Western Piedmont Community College is situated in the picturesque rolling foothills of Morganton, North Carolina, and has served the citizens of Burke County since 1964.  Each year, more than 10,700 students pursue personal enrichment, new skills for a job or career, high school diplomas, college degrees, and transfer pathways. Apply online at www.wpcc.edu or visit the Western Piedmont campus to apply in person.

Duke Energy Foundation makes charitable investments on behalf of Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States with 7.2 million customers in six states. Over the foundation’s long history in local communities, it has identified focus areas that maximize the foundation’s dollars and guide the foundation’s giving. In North Carolina, Duke Energy Foundation invests $16 million annually for community support and charitable contributions. To learn more about Duke Energy Foundation, visit www.duke-energy.com/community/.