As part of an initiative to strengthen local workforce development, Starkville Utilities has partnered with TVA to present $10,000 to the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Discovery Center. The donation from the TVA Community Care Fund will support the center’s internship program with the city of Starkville.
“We see value in helping people build a foundation for the future by learning new job skills that can lead to rewarding careers,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Supporting the Discovery Center is also part of our ongoing commitment to strengthen relationships with customers and improve our community’s quality of life.”
The Discovery Center’s Project PEACE internship program helps unemployed and underemployed individuals gain hands-on work experience in different city departments, including municipal court, human resources and city engineering.
“We are honored that TVA and Starkville Utilities saw such value in the work we are doing that they wanted to enable us to have a wider reach,” said Dr. Brandi Burton, director of the SOCSD Discovery Center. “We pride ourselves in having the ability to offer programs that have direct impacts on our schools, families and communities. The Discovery Center would not be able to do much of what we do without our community partners.”
Additional program services include career counseling, high school equivalency preparation, WorkKeys certification, and acquiring and upgrading job skills. Qualified individuals receive financial assistance for testing fees, community college workforce classes, and work-based learning experiences.
“For the past two years, the Discovery Center’s Project PEACE program has developed a very positive relationship with the city of Starkville through our internship program,” said Elizabeth Williams, program manager for Project PEACE. “Funding from this grant will allow the Discovery Center to expand our number of interns, giving more people an opportunity to improve their job skills and increase their career opportunities.”
Housed at the SOCSD’s Emerson Family School, the Discovery Center offers more than a dozen grant-based programs designed to strengthen and encourage healthy families in Oktibbeha County. Services are funded through federal, state, local and private foundation grants as well as donations from the community.
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.