NC’s Electric Cooperatives to Support Cyber Security and Computer Science Programs at UNC Pembroke

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives will donate $75,000 over the next three years to support expanded opportunities for students enrolled in cyber security and computer science courses at UNC Pembroke.

As the demand for talented professionals in the cybersecurity and information technology fields grows, the state’s electric co-ops are helping students enter the workforce well-prepared for the challenges they will face. Cyber security is of critical importance to the power generation, transmission and distribution networks of electric cooperatives across the state.

“We are pleased to partner with UNC Pembroke on this new initiative to support cyber security and help provide a pipeline of highly skilled workers that will strengthen our industry and our communities,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president of association services and chief operating officer for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.

“As technologies continue to advance, it is critical we invest in educational programs keeping us on the leading edge while providing students the specialized training they need to pursue future job opportunities.”

Chris VanLokeren, chief information officer for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, meets with UNCP computer science students to talk about internships and industry best practices. Photo credit: Jeff Frederick, UNC Pembroke.

The electric cooperatives’ gift will support competitions, conferences, exchange programs and presentations that promote student development and learning. Projects that enhance students’ classroom learning and those that expose students to a broader range of cyber security, networking and information technology topics and training outside the classroom will also be supported.

The gift will assist the university as it acquires and updates technologies in the classroom to ensure student training and knowledge is capturing innovative developments in the computer science field. In addition, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives will offer internships to UNCP computer science students through this partnership.