Duke Energy awarded $249,867 to and Blue Ridge Community College to help train new and current workers in the growing brewery, winery and cider-making industry in Henderson and Transylvania counties.
The money will go toward buying equipment for BRCC's new Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation degree program.
The grant fills a skills gap in the local workforce and enhances training opportunities for new and incumbent workers to develop skills in brewing, distillation and fermentation in support of the influx of breweries, wineries, and cider manufacturers locating to Henderson and Transylvania counties.
In the past three years, two new wineries and two breweries have opened in the two-county area and a new cidery opened as well.
"Blue Ridge Community College has a strong history of providing well-trained graduates," BRCC President Dr. Molly A. Parkhill said in a news release. "Duke Energy's support of Blue Ridge Community College has ensured that local breweries, wineries and other advanced manufacturers can hire highly skilled employees who have trained on state-of-the-art equipment and technologies."
"Our partnership with Blue Ridge Community College helps develop a highly skilled workforce and enables the continued success of an important local industry," said Paul Newton, Duke Energy state president – North Carolina.
This grant is part of Duke Energy's $6.7 million investment in North Carolina community colleges' focus on technical education and support of business and industry. Since 2004, Duke Energy has awarded $15 million in grants to 24 community colleges within the Duke Energy Carolinas service territory. This new $6.7 million investment also includes community colleges located in the Duke Energy Progress service area.