LSSC Foundation receives $85k grant supporting energy utility program expansion

The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded Lake-Sumter State College through the LSSC Foundation $85,000 to support a new renewable energy certificate program and student scholarships.

Lake-Sumter State College is one of 18 organizations across Florida to collectively receive $697,000 in grants from the Duke Energy Foundation to support educational opportunities and career training programs.

“We are so appreciative for the Duke Energy Foundation’s gift to support energy education programs and student scholarships at Lake-Sumter State College,” said Dr. Laura Byrd, senior vice president of institutional advancement and executive director, LSSC Foundation. “Our strong relationship with Duke Energy allows us to offer industry-leading energy education opportunities for students. With this year’s gift, we look forward to expanding our programs to include courses and specializations in renewable energy.”

The six-week Lineworker Boot Camp program prepares students for jobs as entry-level apprentices for transmission & distribution roles at energy utilities. This program is offered at the Electric Utility Institute at the LSSC Sumter Center in Sumterville.

The curriculum for the Lineworker Boot Camp is developed in collaboration with industry partners to ensure a seamless transition for students entering these roles and reduce the amount of initial on-the-job training required.

As renewable energy becomes a larger part of the electric generation mix in Florida and across the country, the demand for workers with skills in these areas will continue to grow. This renewable energy certificate will build off the electricity knowledge offered in the Lineworker Boot Camp and include training in three key areas:

  • Photovoltaic systems (solar panels) design and placement
  • Photovoltaic systems installation, operation, and maintenance
  • Energy storage systems, including the chemistry and materials

“As we look to the future, we are excited to embrace these renewable and sustainable energy trends through new and expanding partnerships on each of our campuses,” said Dr. Heather Bigard, president of Lake-Sumter State College. “Along with the support from the Foundation, we are exploring ways to simultaneously improve our campus infrastructure and offer hands-on career training opportunities for our students.”

For example, LSSC plans to construct an off-grid, solar-powered Workforce Teaching Pavilion that offers a teaching space for programs hosted at the Sumter Center. The associated solar installation and system will also serve as a real-world laboratory for students in the renewable energy certificate.

As a standard part of the planning process, new certificates and programs require approval from the LSSC District Board of Trustees.