Learning & Development

Upskilling the Workforce: Duke Energy Makes Major Training Investment in Florida

A recent six-figure training investment by the Florida-based subsidiary of electric utilities provider Duke Energy, the Duke Energy Foundation and Duke Energy Florida, highlights the growing importance and recognized need of talent development among major employers.

employee upskilling

Employers today are likely pulling their hair out trying to find and keep qualified workers in the wake of the Great Resignation and a widespread labor market shakeup. Even when companies can find someone willing to work, they often lack even the baseline skills to perform the essential duties of the job.

But overall, American employers have it rather good when it comes to workforce training and development. Public K-12 education is funded by either local governments or parents (in the case of private school) and while some employers offer tuition reimbursement, on the whole employers are not a primary source of tuition financing.

In other words, much of the key training that employers rely on is provided to the workforce at no cost to employers.

Specializing Skills Training Important Focus

When employers do foot the bill for training, they’re typically training their own staffs on specialized skills or company-specific policies. Nevertheless, big employers can and often do make sizeable investments in community training efforts at the community level, i.e., training those who do not currently and may never work for the employer funding the training.

“The Duke Energy Foundation and Duke Energy Florida have awarded $697,000 in grants to support a wide range of workforce training and development initiatives, as well as programs focused on attracting and retaining underrepresented and diverse workers,” according to a press release by Duke.

“Of the 18 Florida-based organizations that received funding this year, many are among higher education institutions that provide career-focused curriculum and training opportunities for students to gain valuable skills and meet local workforce demands.”

Thinking Strategically—and Long-Term—About Training

Note that this isn’t $700,000 spent on training Duke Energy Florida staff; but those who receive that training may one day find their way to a job with Duke, and perhaps other organizations will follow Duke’s example and contribute to community training efforts.

While American employers benefit from a robust public education system and widespread utilization of higher education, many still find it necessary to contribute to the development of their local communities, providing a valuable source of industry-specific training resources.