Duke Energy investment in RCCC tops $1 million

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

SALISBURY — Duke Energy recently donated $50,000 to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College  as part of its 2016 workforce development grants. The latest grant from Duke Energy puts the company’s total investment in the college at over $1 million.

“We are grateful to Duke Energy for their support of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College,” Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus, said in a news release. “Their continued support and significant contributions to the college over the last few years have been vital.”

Workforce and economic development is one of Duke Energy’s philanthropic investment priorities.

“Developing the region’s workforce benefits us all,” said Randy Welch, district manager for Duke Energy Carolinas. “Our investments come full circle when many of the students go on to work for area industries, and those industries then gain skilled workers trained to meet the community needs.”

The funds will enable equipment enhancements for engineering technologies programs. These enhancements include two MechLab systems and four AB CompactLogix programmable logic controllers, as well as associated supplies and software.

“A significant component of the Rowan-Cabarrus mission is tied to the economic and workforce development of our region,” Spalding said. “To keep pace with the evolution of manufacturing technologies, the college must produce appropriately skilled and educated workers to manage the increasing complexity and technical aspects of manufacturing jobs.”

The MechLab automated training systems equipment will assist in learning objectives in the engineering technology programs. In conjunction with the MechLab systems, the programmable logic controllers will give students insight into one of the most significant fields of application for automation technology – production technology.

“This equipment will be used in three different degree programs at Rowan-Cabarrus: electronics engineering technology, industrial engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology,” said Dr. Michael Quillen, vice president of academic programs. “Skills gained by training on this equipment will enable our students to gain employment in a variety of industries. Additionally, students will also be better prepared for transfer to engineering programs in the UNC system through prearranged articulation agreements.”

Today, manufacturers across the country are facing a skills gap between the technical skills their employees need and the skills they find in applicants. Rowan-Cabarrus is working diligently with manufacturers to do its part in addressing the gap that prohibits employers from filling these high-tech, high-wage jobs, and the Duke Energy grant will help the college to further that mission.

The grant was given to the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation’s Building a More Prosperous Community major gifts campaign. The campaign is centered on four key initiatives that address specific needs for the college, including advanced technology, health-care education, an outdoor learning and amphitheater space, and STEAM scholarships for students pursuing science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

“The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation supports the mission of the college and is proud to provide funding for scholarships and other student assistance, support for academic programming and capital needs, and other needs of the college and the local community,” said Carla Howell, chief officer of governance, foundation and public relations.

For information on the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation, visit www.rccc.edu/foundation.