The Duke Energy Foundation has given Central Piedmont Community College a grant of $48,000 to support the college's utility line worker program.
The grant is part of $350,000 the Duke Energy Foundation is providing to support 11 community colleges across North Carolina working to create a pipeline of skilled line workers that will help meet the energy industry's future workforce needs. With this additional funding, the Foundation has awarded more than $6.7 million over the past five years in support of workforce development programs with a focus on the energy sector.
"Central Piedmont Community College thanks the Duke Energy Foundation for its investment in Central Piedmont's utility line worker program," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "The generous grant will benefit our students directly by helping them purchase the equipment and materials they need to start the program. We appreciate the Duke Energy Foundation's support and partnership as the college works to train individuals in a high-skills, high-demand field."
As Duke Energy (DUK NYSE) executes its clean energy transition, the need for a skilled workforce is growing rapidly. Line workers play an integral role in a more efficient, more reliable digital grid. The company's investment into line worker training programs and coordination with community colleges will result in a more diverse talent pipeline for the utility industry.
"Given North Carolina's tremendous growth, line workers are essential to strengthening our infrastructure and allowing our communities to thrive," said Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "These grants are one way we can create access to workforce development opportunities across the state, helping ensure our workforce diversity reflects the communities we serve, live and work in."
Central Piedmont announced the creation of its line worker program in late 2022 and began conducting classes and training in late-July 2023. Duke Energy provided a start-up boost by giving the college a grant of $500,000. The Pike Corporation also helped by providing much needed equipment to establish the program at the college's Harper Campus.
The program's first class graduated on Dec. 15. The six new graduates will help meet a growing need in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region for well-trained, highly skilled utility line workers. As Central Piedmont continues to grow the program, its goal will be to produce more than 100 graduates every 12 months.
As part of the program, students undertake a rigorous curriculum and achieve a 580-hour academic and field training goal. Students who complete the 16-week program will be able to enter the workforce quickly and will have earned multiple, specialized industry training credentials, including OSHA, CPR, Arc Flash Safety for Utilities, Bucket Truck Rescue, Class A CDL License, Pole Top Rescue, and Work Zone Flagger.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates about 23,000 openings for line installers and repairers will be available each year, on average, over the next decade. With this trend in mind, the college, Duke Energy and Pike have partnered to develop a pipeline of diverse, skilled, and talented utility line workers by investing in the education and career development of local, Mecklenburg County citizens.
Visit the college website for more information about the utility line worker program at Central Piedmont, or call 704.330.4223.