As part of an initiative to strengthen local workforce development, Starkville Utilities partnered with TVA to award $10,000 to the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Discovery Center. The TVA Community Care Fund donation 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 customer relationships and improve the quality of life for our community.”
The Discovery Center’s Project PEACE internship program helps unemployed and underemployed people gain hands-on work experience in different city departments, including municipal courts, human resources, and city engineering.
“We are honored that TVA and Starkville Utilities saw so much value in the work we are doing that they wanted to allow us to have a broader reach,” said Dr. Brandi Burton, director of the SOCSD Discovery Center. “We pride ourselves on having the ability to offer programs that have a direct impact on our schools, families and communities. Discovery Center couldn’t 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 updating job skills. Qualified individuals receive financial assistance to pay for testing fees, community college workforce classes, and work-based learning experiences.
“Over 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, Project PEACE program manager. “Funding from this grant will allow Discovery Center to expand our internship, giving more people the opportunity to improve their job skills and increase their career opportunities.”
Located in 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 grants from federal, state, local, and private foundations, 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 provide safe, reliable and cost-effective water and electricity services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of its customers.