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Duke Energy Foundation Awards $12,700 to Raise Awareness of Manufacturing Career Opportunities in Alachua County

Duke Energy Foundation Awards $12,700 to Raise Awareness of Manufacturing Career Opportunities in Alachua County

Duke-ENergy-2The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Duke Energy jointly announced a $12,700 grant awarded to the Chamber by the Duke Energy Foundation. The grant will support the Chamber’s efforts to raise awareness of manufacturing as a viable and available career opportunity that provides pathways to success for people across the skills and education spectrum in Alachua County and surrounding areas.

The Chamber’s efforts to strengthen the regional industry and its talent pool align with the Duke Energy Foundation’s efforts to fund programs that strengthen the quality of life in the communities it serves, and support the company’s philanthropic strategies in its investment priorities, which include economic development, workforce, education and community impact.

“We applaud the Chamber’s work to increase talent and industry growth in advanced manufacturing,” said Duke Energy State President Alex Glenn. “You can expect Duke Energy to be a partner in these efforts going forward. If we can work together to advance the efforts we have seen in Gainesville, it will be a force multiplier for the region.”

The Duke Energy Foundation grant will cover the Chamber’s 2016 Manufacturing Month activities, which will be held in October in conjunction with the Manufacturing Association of Florida’s statewide observation. The state association holds Manufacturing Month each year in October to provide in-person exposure and opportunities for students, parents and communities to learn about manufacturing career opportunities that span the skills and education spectrum. Additionally, Gainesville has been selected as the location for the state Manufacturing Association’s annual summit in November.


During the 2015 Manufacturing Month event, the Chamber’s Advanced Manufacturing Council worked with area manufacturers on several events including job fairs and tours for Alachua County students to raise in-person awareness of available careers.

“In 2015, we saw that first-hand exposure gets kids interested in manufacturing careers,” said Ryan Loftus, Chair of the Chamber’s Advanced Manufacturing Council and Senior Engineering Manager at Exactech. “After students toured our facilities and saw what we do, they left interested in the jobs our industry offers, and that interest is exactly what we need to develop a workforce that can catalyze and sustain our industry’s growth.”

On average, manufacturing careers in Florida pay $55,000 per year. In the Chamber’s October 2015 State of the Regional Manufacturing Report, local companies reported plans for expansion that would result in more than $273 million in new capital investment through 2018. However, in the same report, local companies also expressed extreme challenges in finding and keeping the talent they need to grow their companies.

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