Recently, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced that it has joined the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) Energy Equity campaign, which is intended to increase the representation of African Americans in employment, leadership, business contracting and workforce development in the energy industry.
NYPA leaders say this initiative will double its investment in diversity, equity and inclusion; environmental justice; and minority/women-owned business enterprises from $5 million to $10 million.
A comprehensive action plan was crafted to move toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. The partnership will be launched with specific deliverables and desired outcomes, outlined in a 10-point plan. The results of this initiative will be measured and reported to the NYPA Board of Trustees regularly.
The 10-point plan includes actionable strategies that align with AABE’s campaign goals, as well as actions to address racism, biases, inequities and exclusion. The plan’s items are as follows:
- Reaffirm NYPA’s commitment to building and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture.
- Ensure that NYPA processes, policies and procedures are transparent and free from bias.
- Expand training to NYPA employees on antiracism, unconscious bias, microaggression and cultural competency.
- Create a Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer position, reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer and to the Chief Human Resources and Administration Officer, and increase investment in the office of Civil Rights and Inclusion.
- Invest in NYPA’s black employees and create pathways for career development and upward mobility.
- Cast a wider net and secure a diverse slate of applicants for vacancies by partnering with professional organizations such as AABE, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and local and national colleges and universities.
- Partner and support NYPA employee unions at the national, regional and local levels and invest in their diversity, equity and inclusion programs and initiatives.
- Leverage NYPA’s experience, resources and purchasing power to build capacity and access to MWBE firms.
- Broaden NYPA’s community-based STEM, student internship and mentorship programs to increase the pipeline of utility and clean energy workers of tomorrow – including the creation of a targeted college scholarship program.
- Create an enterprise-wide employee service program dedicated to understanding racial justice through NYPA’s clean energy business, such as community solar for example, and energy sustainability work in environmental justice communities.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the U.S., with more than 80% of the electricity produced being clean, renewable hydropower. Due to its influence, this initiative sets an example for other utilities across the U.S.
“We are embracing an opportunity today to lead — to lead our industry and our sector – by pursuing a multi-faceted, action plan to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace at NYPA,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO. “By partnering with the American Association of Blacks in Energy to achieve its essential campaign’s far-reaching goals, we will together achieve greater African American representation at NYPA, and in the broader energy, renewable energy and electrification fields.”
Paula R. Glover, President & CEO, the American Association of Blacks in Energy, said, “Like NYPA, we believe that working together we can be a better industry when we embrace opportunities to improve the representation of African Americans in the energy industry. With its 10-point plan, NYPA is the first energy company to join our Energy Equity Initiative. NYPA has long demonstrated support for communities during times of great need.”