People may spend a lot of time talking about vampire movies, Tiger Woods, and Mayan predictions about the end of the world, but what's really important to them these days is the economy and job creation. The North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation for years has focused much of its attention on the critical business of job creation and economic development.
North Carolina's electric cooperatives serve nearly one-third of the state's residents and cover nearly half of its land area, and the cooperatives' annual economic impact approaches $2 billion. They pump millions of dollars into direct community spending every year, roughly half of which is aimed at business and industrial development efforts that include grants and low-interest loans, site location assistance, market research, and a variety of energy-related services.
Such economic development services are more important than ever in these days of economic downturn. But North Carolina Electric Membership is focused on future prosperity as well, as evidenced by its support of local education efforts. For example, North Carolina's Touchstone Energy cooperatives recently hosted their annual Bright Ideas education grant awards program. They handed out nearly $180,000 in grant money to 196 teachers, supporting a wide range of classroom-based projects that would otherwise not be possible or would have to be paid for by the teachers themselves.