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Planning for the future strength of Southern Maryland, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Inc. has established the SMECO Future Engineers Endowed Scholarship Fund at the College of Southern Maryland with a $100,000 pledge. The scholarship will support students enrolled in the Associate of Science in Engineering (ASE) in Electrical Engineering degree program with secondary consideration given to students enrolled in other CSM engineering degree programs.

“As a major force behind the area’s economic expansion and quality of life, SMECO has demonstrated time and time again its integral role as a partner in education for our region’s workforce. They have established several education and training programs for current and future workforce, and with this new commitment to grow future engineers within Southern Maryland, SMECO reflects a significant investment in the next generation and future vitality of our community,” CSM President Brad Gottfried said in a press release. “SMECO has always been a strong supporter of education and of the College of Southern Maryland. Not only are they investing in the students that will be here in the future, but they have dedicated themselves to investing in their own workforce through continued education and workforce development at the college.”

Announcing the endowed scholarship during the 2013 Southern Maryland VEX League Championship-Senior Division at the La Plata Campus recently, SMECO Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations and Chief Operating Officer Kenneth M. Capps told an audience of high school students and parents, “Because we are tied to our community so closely, we are happy to work with our partners in the community, local school systems and local colleges. Recently, we started a $100,000 endowment to provide financial assistance to full-time students entering or currently enrolled in the College of Southern Maryland’s Associate of Science in Engineering, in Electrical Engineering degree program. We are supporting students in engineering because our business relies on a well-educated workforce, and we need employees who possess these skills,” according to the release.

Capps continued in the release, “More and more, technology plays a significant role in electric utility operations. We look forward to a day when the skills students are learning in events like the robotics competition will be used at power plants and in substations, or used in the field to inspect and repair high voltage power lines. With this endowment, we are making a long-term investment in Southern Maryland. We value education and the partnership we have with CSM; but more importantly, we value the relationship we have with our customer-members. And we’re making this commitment because we know it will benefit our co-op and strengthen our relationship with our community.”