Duke Energy and Craven Community College announced that the college has received a $250,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation.
The funds will be used to purchase new virtual welding machines. The welding machines will be incorporated into the welding technology degree program. CCC sought the grant in order to educate and produce fully-skilled welders to fill regional employment gaps.
“Our college has offered welding training in all 50 years of its existence. The Duke Energy grant will allow us to enhance and grow our welding program in order to continue providing a solid career opportunity for our students,” said Catherine Chew, CCC president.
“A highly trained workforce is essential to North Carolina’s future,” said Millie Chalk, Duke Energy district manager. “We’re proud to partner with Craven Community College and help shape the next generation of skilled workers who will move our region’s business community forward.”
This grant is part of Duke Energy’s $30 million investment in North Carolina Community Colleges’ focus on technical education and support of business and industry. Individual community colleges can apply for funds through the N.C. Community Foundation. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of representatives from Duke Energy, N.C. Community College System and N.C. Department of Commerce.
According to the report, The Welding Industry: Workforce Trends and Challenges Reports, North Carolina is one of the top 10 states with highest number of job openings for welding. The Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board anticipates a 20-30% increase in welding jobs in Craven County over the next 10 years.
“The grant allows us to purchase equipment that will improve our welding student’s hands-on learning experience, while reducing costs and being more ecologically friendly because of the need for less welding materials,” said Eric Braddy, CCC welding instructor. The virtual welding machines replicates real-world welding and gives students more practice before welding in traditional ways.
For more information about CCC’s welding degree program, contact Braddy at (252) 638-7288.
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of local communities. Annually, the Foundation funds more than $25 million in charitable grants, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development and community impact. Duke Energy has long been committed to supporting the communities where its customers and employees live and work, and will continue to build on this legacy.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.