Every November we celebrate National STEM Day, which highlights the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. These skills are a necessity as we look to building the infrastructure of our future. This is exceptionally true in the energy sector, where STEM will continue to be a key driver of our workforce. Competitive power suppliers and the entire energy community must invest in advancing STEM programs, but we must also ensure these opportunities champion diversity and inclusion.
EPSA and its member companies are working to not only build the workforce of the future, but to ensure that the people who have been historically underrepresented have access and opportunity to pursue education and careers in STEM. We’ve rounded up a few examples of how our member companies are working to move the needle and create a more diverse power sector.
Vistra approaches diversity and inclusion from all angles to ensure its operations are rooted in best practices. The hiring process is fundamental to attracting diverse, talented candidates. Vistra began by appointing a Chief Diversity Officer and a Diversity Recruiter in 2020. The company then began training hiring managers to identify and reduce their own implicit biases, to diversify the pathways by which they can provide opportunity and identify more potential applicants, and to use skills-based hiring techniques to focus on what is essential to each job function.
Internally, Vistra has also created 12 Employee Resource Groups, namely for LGBTQIA+ and racially diverse employees, to celebrate the company’s diversity and drive growth from within. Vistra approaches diversity, equity and inclusion the same way it approaches the consumers it serves. As Annette Underwood, Chief Diversity Officer said, “We serve diverse communities of different ages, races, genders, sexual orientation, the disabled and different national origins. If these diverse groups are actively involved within Vistra, we are providing a product that attracts and meets the needs of all the communities we serve across the enterprise.”
In December 2020, Vistra was recognized for a steady stream of supply chain diversity wins, making the company a top employer for women, workers of color and veterans.
To better connect with customers and communities while making its teams stronger, NRG is embracing the power of diversity. Earlier this year, the company expanded its core values of diversity and inclusion to include equity. They also held an inaugural Day of Understanding, an event coordinated by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion aimed at addressing workplace bias while building a culture of inclusion and understanding. NRG strives to be a place where all voices are heard, and where individual differences make for a stronger organization.
NRG has created ten Business Resource Groups for its employees to gather and discuss their skills, perspectives, and commonalities. One Space encourages NRG employees to bring their whole selves to work regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, while Believe promotes inclusion and development of Black employees through mentorship, networking, education and recruitment. The company hosted virtual Black History Month events through Believe in 2021, during which employees engaged in thought-provoking discussions, workshops and even trivia.
To achieve its mission of a competitive power leader, Calpine draws on the richness and diversity of its teams’ backgrounds and experiences to continuously learn from – and to teach – one another. The company strives to live by its values, known by the acronym ASPIRE: Accountability, Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect and Esprit de Corps. As the last value in ASPIRE, Esprit de Corps invokes a collective sense of pride and honor in all Calpine does, which is clearly facilitated by its emphasis on bringing diverse backgrounds together.
Calpine’s diverse teams contribute valuable knowledge and fresh perspectives to make better business decisions, which in turn result in better outcomes for their communities and futures. By promoting inclusive collaboration and seeking input from many voices, Calpine strives to remove barriers and open doors to individual and collective success.
Calpine also offers employee resource groups, which can help foster a sense of belonging and develop comradery among colleagues. Calpine employees more than 300 veterans, which comprise about 15 percent of its workforce. Calpine plans to replicate the success of its veterans initiative for other groups.
Read EPSA’s interviews with the competitive power sector’s powerhouse of women at Eastern Generation, bp, and LS Power.