GAHANNA, Ohio, August 3, 2010 -- AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) announced today a three-part, $775,000 workforce development program designed to help low-income Ohioans compete for jobs in an evolving economy. AEP Ohio’s program is part of the company’s "Partnership with Ohio" plan, a $15 million three-year (2009-2011) commitment to health, hunger and housing programs serving Ohioans in need.

VIDEO: AEP Ohio POWER Grant Initiative - Announcement of workforce development initiatives

"AEP Ohio has established this workforce development program to provide meaningful assistance to Ohioans by preparing them to compete for jobs in this struggling economy," said Joe Hamrock, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer.

The first initiative will provide $500,000 in grant money to help with workforce training and development needs facing low-income Ohioans. AEP Ohio’s POWER (Putting Ohioans to Work for Economic Recovery) grants will provide cash grants of up to $100,000 to local boards of County Commissions to fund workforce development proposals targeting low-income Ohioans within the AEP Ohio service territory. Low-income Ohioans include those who are at or below 200 percent of the 2009-2010 Federal Poverty Guidelines. The grants will be awarded to new programs that seek to prepare future employees for opportunities in Ohio’s targeted industries identified by the Ohio Department of Development, and for retraining displaced workers to take advantage of new career opportunities. POWER grant applicants also will be required to collaborate with other local and regional organizations to obtain matching funds for at least 25 percent of the proposed project’s budget. 

All proposals will be reviewed, evaluated and scored by a panel including representatives of leading institutions of higher learning in the State of Ohio. Representatives of AEP Ohio nor its affiliates will participate in proposal evaluations. 

The second initiative dedicates $225,000 in scholarships funds to qualifying applicants that plan to attend two-year Ohio community and technical colleges.

Nine schools will be granted $25,000 each for an AEP Ohio scholarship. Those schools include:
Shawnee State University in Portsmouth
Zane State College in Zanesville
Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville
Belmont Technical College in St. Clairsville
Washington State Community College in Marietta
Columbus State Community College in Columbus
Rio Grande Community College in Rio Grande
Owens Community College - Findlay campus
Stark State College in Canton

Eligible recipients will be those seeking to upgrade their skills, particularly in utility industry careers. Scholarships will be administered through the educational institution. Applicants may apply for the scholarships through the school’s admissions office.

Through a third initiative, AEP Ohio will provide $50,000 to Ohio Women in Sustainable Employment, a project of Hard Hatted Women. Hard Hatted Women provides targeted recruitment, training and advancement services to women with the goal of making Ohio the first state in the nation to make green jobs more traditional. The funds will be used to support the inclusion of women living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level in energy, construction and manufacturing careers.

Through the program, Hard Hatted Women will develop a pool of trained role models and speakers to serve as mentors for future training services and will assist participants in outreaching to employers in trade and technical fields. "In times like these, AEP Ohio along with other businesses and government must work together to help ease the burden Ohio families face," said Joseph Hamrock, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. "We are pleased to be able to collaborate with the counties that we serve to help prepare Ohioans for the workforce moving forward." 

AEP Ohio’s Partnership With Ohio (PWO) Fund is a three-year $15 million shareholder-funded program that provides additional help in the areas of health, hunger and housing to Ohio’s needy families. The programs are designed to include families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, a segment of the population that often does not qualify for state and federal aid. Since 2009, the company has provided through the PWO Fund $6.25 million to support regional food banks and United Way agencies, workforce development initiatives, direct bill payment assistance and weatherization efforts for low-income customers. AEP Ohio also has used the funding to support the company’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program, a program designed to help low-income customers struggling to pay their electric bill. Other PWO contributions will be announced throughout the year.

AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of major AEP subsidiaries Columbus Southern Power Company and Ohio Power Company in Ohio, and Wheeling Power Company in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power. American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

Terri Flora
AEP Ohio Corporate Communications

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