LSSC Foundation receives $115,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation A student in LSSC's Electrical Distribution program climbs a utility pole at the College's Electric Utility Institute.

Lake-Sumter State College Foundation, Inc. received a $115,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to create powerful communities in Lake & Sumter Counties through the College’s Energy Utility Institute located in Sumter County.

Lake-Sumter State College is one of 18 organizations in Florida to collectively receive $715,000 in grants from the Duke Energy Foundation.

“We are thrilled about the Duke Energy Foundation’s gift to support energy education programs at Lake-Sumter State College,” said Dr. Laura Byrd, VP of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director, LSSC Foundation. “Our strong partnership with Duke Energy allows us to offer an industry-leading education for our students and a seamless transition into their full-time career within the energy industry.”

Lake-Sumter State College offers two degree programs through the Energy Utility Institute.  The first degree is the A.A.S. in Electrical Distribution in Technology, commonly known as the Lineworker program, which trains the hard-working men and women who install and maintain power lines (distribution systems). The second is the A.S. in Engineering Technology, Substation and Relay Technology Specialization. Students in this program are trained to work in the energy industry building, designing, and maintaining the electric grid.

“Lake-Sumter State College’s innovative Energy Utility Institute serves as model to be replicated throughout the country,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. “I’m proud that we’ve supported the energy program since its inception in 2014 and have also hired several graduates.  Our continuous grant support demonstrates the merit of the programs as well as our commitment to the future of our communities by empowering a skilled workforce to meet needs in high-demand fields.”

Graduates of both of these programs enter the workforce into high-paying and in-demand jobs. These career specialties are critical to the energy industry as utilities work to maintain and upgrade the electric grid in Florida and throughout the country. Utility companies have invested billions of dollars in maintaining and strengthening their systems and these investments will continue in the future.

Students interested in enrolling in LSSC’s Energy Programs should visit

The Duke Energy Foundation’s Powerful Communities program makes strategic investments to build powerful communities where our natural resources thrive, students can excel and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. The Foundation annually funds more than $30 million to communities throughout Duke Energy’s seven-state service area.

Duke Energy’s charitable contributions, scholarships, and in-kind support to Lake-Sumter State College exceeds $900,000 since 2013.

About the Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts, and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.