Cooperative Energy has pledged $187,500 over the next five years to the Mississippi Scholars Tech Master program. The funding, which will be made in five $37,500 increments, will help Mississippi high school students prepare to take the next steps in career technical training.
The Mississippi Scholars Tech Master program is an initiative of the Mississippi Economic Council and the Public Education Forum of Mississippi. The donation was announced at the recent MEC Hobnob event attended by more than 1,500 business and community leaders from across the state. Tech Master is designed to provide technical skills to students who plan to enter the workforce after high school graduation or receive a certification from a community college.
”Tech Master is a program that Cooperative Energy strongly believes in and we recognize the positive impact it is having on our students,” said Jeff Bowman, Cooperative Energy president who will assume CEO duties later this month. “This is a commitment made by the 11 distribution cooperatives who are our Members and they know firsthand the importance of education and workforce training.
“Investing in the future of Mississippi students is always money well spent. We need to make sure that Mississippi has a trained workforce, which helps fuel economic development.”
Hattiesburg-based Cooperative Energy is a not-for-profit, Member-owned energy utility that generates and transmits electricity distributed to more than 432,000 consumer-members across 55 Mississippi counties.
The recent pledge follows a $125,000 donation Cooperative Energy and Origis Energy made to Mississippi Scholars Tech Master two years ago, the largest in the program’s history.
At that time, 67 of the 82 Mississippi counties were implementing the scholars programs. The goal of that funding was to make the initiative available in all 82 counties. In less than two years, that mission has been accomplished.
“Cooperative Energy should be congratulated for its vision and knowing that our state needs a trained workforce to keep moving our communities and companies forward,” said Scott Waller, Mississippi Economic Council president and CEO. “Our membership has spoken loudly that workforce training is their number one priority, and financial support from Cooperative Energy is making sure that students have the curriculums they need through Tech Master training.”
Mississippi Scholars is a college prep program started in 2004.More than 50,000 students have graduated from the program since its inception. Tech Master was created in 2014 and already boasts more than 7,000 graduates. Both programs have a strong focus on a STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – curriculum.