Duke Energy awards $90,000 in workforce development grants to nine area organizations

The Duke Energy Foundation announced the recipients of its 2024 Workforce Development Grants. A total of $90,000 has been awarded to various organizations in Greater Cincinnati to support initiatives that strengthen the workforce development pipeline for high demand industries.

“We are proud to support local community partners that believe in the power of education and the potential of our young people to shape the future,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “A strong and resilient workforce starts with creating educational opportunities aligned to our most pressing economic needs.”

Duke Energy’s focus on workforce development is tied to its broader commitment to laying the groundwork for vibrant communities and economic opportunities in the regions in which it operates. Over the past five years, our Foundation has contributed more than $1.1 million in grant funding to organizations helping to strengthen Ohio and Kentucky’s talent pipeline.

“Brighton Center is grateful for the support of the Duke Energy Foundation. With this funding, we will be able to help individuals to find jobs that pay a livable wage with benefits and opportunities for advancement,” said Wonda Winkler, President and CEO, Brighton Center. “Income aligned housing, quality childcare, debt-free educational opportunities, and managing finances to build assets for the future are all services we can now provide. These services are critical for addressing the needs of those looking for upward mobility as well as helping to meet the workforce needs in our region.”

The grants will fund a range of initiatives with focus areas ranging from STEM and IT to construction and logistics.

“The Freestore Foodbank is thrilled to continue our partnership with Duke Energy Foundation,” said Kurt Reiber, President & CEO, Freestore Foodbank. “The funding will be used to support our Logistics, Inventory Management, Facilities Management and Transportation (LIFT) program where we offer an opportunity for unemployed and underemployed adults throughout the tristate to be trained in a growing field. This training is vital in providing essential job skills to our region’s workforce.”

Complete list of grant recipients and program details:


Brighton Center

$10,000 – Career Pathways to Self-Sufficiency
To remove employment barriers and promote self-sufficiency through job training, comprehensive services, and support for underrepresented populations.

Learning Grove

$10,000 – NaviGo Scholars
To enhance STEM education, provide hands-on training, and improve employment outcomes for 10th – 12th grade students in the community.

Northern Kentucky University

$10,000 – CinSam Adventure Days
To fund immersive, on-campus STEM experiences at NKU for elementary and middle school students, particularly those from underserved backgrounds, to foster curiosity, career awareness, and a sense of belonging on a college campus.


Cincinnati Compass

$10,000 – Building and Inclusive Workforce Ecosystem to Leverage Immigrant and Refugee Talent
To enhance Cincinnati’s workforce development by leveraging immigrant and refugee talent, focusing on employer practices and service accessibility.

Cincinnati Works Inc

$10,000 – Fair Chance Works
To provide a comprehensive suite of services, including professional coaching, skills training, and community partnerships, to assist individuals with significant criminal records in finding and excelling in jobs, while also working with employers to promote inclusive hiring practices.

Easter Seals/Redwood

$10,000 – Construction Pathways
To support 225 participants in the Construction Pathway Program and provide supportive services and necessary job materials, facilitating employment or apprenticeship for 75% of graduates.

Freestore-Foodbank Inc

$10,000 – LIFT the TriState
To support a 10-week training initiative for unemployed or underemployed adults, providing them with skills for jobs in the warehousing and logistics industries, with the funds earmarked for essential safety equipment and supplies.

Per Scholas

$10,000 – Cincinnati IT Skills Training
To enhance tuition-free information technology training for a diverse learner base, fostering employment in the tech sector and boosting the local economy.

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

$10,000 – Adult Workforce: Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention (SOAR)
To fund a comprehensive workforce development program that provides job readiness training, financial education, and barrier removal to connect participants to high-demand career pathways, with the goal of addressing poverty in underserved communities.

Duke Energy

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