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Duke Energy Foundation awards welding grant to SCC

Staff Report //November 13, 2020//

Duke Energy Foundation awards welding grant to SCC

Staff Report //November 13, 2020//

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Duke Energy's $75,000 grant will help Spartanburg Community College launch its associate degree in welding. (Photo/Provided)A $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation has allowed Spartanburg Community College to implement a new associate degree in welding.

The program addresses a growing need for welders in the Upstate, the college said in a news release.

“The SCC Foundation is proud of its partnership with the Duke Energy Foundation and thrilled this significant gift took an essential program to the next level,” Bea Walters Smith, SCC Foundation executive director, said in the news release.

“The demand for qualified welders is increasing in the Upstate as the local economy grows and an aging workforce retires,” the release said. “South Carolina has approximately 920 position vacancies for welders annually and there is expected to be a 14.8% rise in this number by 2026.”

The college intends to purchase new experiential welding equipment and add new courses to the curriculum.

“Spartanburg Community College is appreciative of the support from Duke Energy,” SCC President Michael Mikota said in the release. “This investment signifies a commitment to creating a brighter future by investing in industry needs through a partnership with our college that supports the supply of a dedicated talent pipeline that is vital to our economy and our prosperity.”

Funding from Duke Energy was used to construct an outdoor metal platform designed to simulate a live field welding workplace, giving students exposure to structures at elevated heights.

“This year has proven a challenge for many education organizations and programs across the state,” Linda Hannon, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy Carolinas, said in the release. “That’s why it is even more critical today to continue Duke Energy’s tradition of investing in education programs that help strengthen the workforce pipeline needed to fuel the Upstate’s economic engine now and in the years to come.”