North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Join Congressional HBCU Partnership Challenge

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives have joined the HBCU Partnership Challenge, an effort of the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus aimed at promoting greater engagement and support between companies and HBCUs. Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (D-NC) founded the Caucus and serves as its co-chair, along with Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL).

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives were one of six companies joining the HBCU Partnership Challenge at the third annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action held on Capitol Hill March 3 and 5. During STEAM Day, HBCU and business leaders met with members of Congress in the House and Senate. More than 50 HBCUs, organizations, technology companies, and industry leaders sent representatives to participate in these days of advocacy.

Lauren Liles, HR Specialist for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, speaks at the HBCU Challenge Power-Up Breakfast.

“I am honored that so many of my colleagues participated in the most successful HBCU STEAM Day yet, and I am excited that Autodesk, Citi, Farm Credit, Honda of America, NC Electric Cooperatives and Prudential have joined the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus’ HBCU Partnership Challenge,” said Congresswoman Adams. “These companies recognize that diversity creates a stronger workforce, and that HBCUs play a critical role in creating the business leaders of the future. I am proud these companies are making a greater investment in their outreach to and partnership with HBCUs.”

Congresswoman Alma Adams

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives strive to build a brighter future for people, businesses and communities throughout our state, and we recognize the critical roles of diversity and inclusion, as well as STEAM education, in making this vision a reality,” said CFO Lark James. “We’re proud to join the HBCU Partnership Challenge to further engage HBCUs and invest in talented and innovative leaders who will strengthen our industry and our state.”

 North Carolina is home to more HBCUs than any other state, and three-fourths of all HBCUs nationwide are in rural areas. HBCUs make an annual contribution of more than $15 billion to our nation’s economy and produce 42 percent of the country’s black engineers, 46 percent of black women engineers and 27 percent of all black STEM degree earners.

The Bipartisan HBCU Caucus first issued the HBCU Partnership Challenge in 2017. Challenge participants have made a commitment to incorporate HBCUs within their diversity and inclusion efforts. Forty-five companies have joined the Challenge to date.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives maintains strong partnerships with a number of organizations and universities to help foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, Shaw University and UNC Pembroke.

Learn more about the HBCU Partnership Challenge and HBCU STEAM Day of Action at