To mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and honor the Duke Energy employees who have helped in the recovery process, The Duke Energy Foundation is contributing $200,000 to the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative (GCWDI), a collaborative effort to rebuild Gulf Coast communities that were devastated by Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

Thousands of Duke Energy personnel responded to both storms. One year later, the flood waters and winds have subsided, but the damage the storms caused is still evident in many communities.

The GCWDI is a public-private partnership developed to recruit and train 20,000 construction craft workers to rebuild the Gulf Coast region by the end of 2009. GCWDI provides free, intense training courses designed to prepare individuals for careers in construction, and is supported by businesses, community partners, construction trade groups and governmental entities. GCWDI was founded by Business Roundtable, an association of 160 CEOs of leading U.S. companies.

"These storms left an indelible imprint on our customers and community partners throughout the Gulf Coast region. Additional workers will be an integral part of the effort required to reshape and preserve these important communities," said James E. Rogers, president and chief executive officer. "By contributing to this effort we are also underscoring our commitment to employee and contractor safety, which will be an integral part of the GCWDI training program."

Duke Energy funds will directly support the safety training of workers, addressing construction health, risk assessment techniques, and safety procedures and requirements.