• apogee
  • apogee
  • apogee
  • empty

18-Jun-2018BARC Recognized by Department of Education for “Creating Excellence” with Rockbridge Co Schools

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tish Blackwell, 800-846-2272 (tblackwell@barcelectric.com)


BARC honored for supporting RCPS Solutions STEM Academy and creating student internship opportunities.

Millboro, VA – BARC Electric Cooperative (BARC) announced Monday it was selected as the Region 5 winner of the 2018 Creating Excellence Business & Industry Partnership Award by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Education. BARC was nominated by Rockbridge County Public Schools (RCPS) for the honor citing the long-standing partnership they have shared and BARC’s increased involvement over the last two years in the school system’s Solutions STEM Academy. RCPS identifies BARC as their primary partner in the Academy’s energy and power program and applauds the utility’s engagement with students through financial support and work-based learning experiences by means of paid internship positions with BARC’s broadband subsidiary, BARC Connects.

RCPS recommended BARC as “the standard for renewable energy in the area” and noted the multiple solar projects in the community that BARC has launched. Over the last few years, BARC has provided grants, access to its community solar learning center and solar array, paid internships, and letters of support, enabling the school system to launch its own Solutions Energy & Power STEM pathway. The coursework focuses on renewable energy and utility careers, providing a workforce pipeline for BARC and the community.

(L-R: Brendan Lynch, BARC Intern; Dr. James F. Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction, VDOE, Mike Keyser, BARC CEO; Devon Mason, BARC Intern; Dr. Phillip Thompson, Superintendent Rockbridge County Public Schools; Asa Smith, BARC Intern)


In accepting the award, BARC CEO Mike Keyser stated that, “Supporting our local school districts is an investment in the future employees of the cooperative. It is exciting to see the programs now being offered at both Rockbridge and Bath public school districts as a result of our solar programs. We are also fortunate to be able to offer local students opportunities for work-based learning through our paid internship program. I look forward to even more collaboration with our local schools.”

Dr. Steven Wilder, Supervisor of Career and Technical Education at Rockbridge County High School commented, “BARC is a relatively small utility that makes big things happen, including solar installations and fiber optic installations, in our rural community. BARC is a very vocal supporter of education in our community, and especially in our efforts to ramp up STEM education.”

(L-R: Stewart Harris, Jr., Chair, CTE Advisory Committee; Dr. James F. Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction, VDOE; Dr. Phillip Thompson, Superintendent Rockbridge County Public Schools; Brendan Lynch; Asa Smith; Devon Mason, BARC Interns; The Honorable, Atif M. Qarni, Secretary of Education, Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam; The Honorable Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Advisor to the Governor, Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam; Mike Keyser, BARC CEO; George R. Willcox, Acting Director, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, VDOE )

Additionally, this summer BARC is providing 6 paid internship positions to Bath and Rockbridge County High School students. The students are gaining real-world experience in customer service, marketing, engineering and responsibility and work ethic. As a local cooperative, BARC has a “grow your own” workforce philosophy. The Energy & Power program graduates will be well-suited for future employment opportunities here and in the Valley.

About BARC:

BARC Electric Cooperative is a customer-owned electric cooperative serving 13,000 residents, farms and businesses across five counties in Virginia. To continue to serve and meet the needs of its members, BARC constructed the first community solar garden in the Commonwealth and provides high-speed Internet, telephone and television service through BARC Connects, its wholly-owned fiber-to-the-home subsidiary. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To learn more about all the exciting things happening at BARC, visit www.barcelectric.com and www.barcconnects.net.