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Energy Careers
Inclusivity in Workforce Development
Electric companies are working together with natural gas and nuclear companies—and their trade associations, contractors, and unions—through the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) to create a skilled, diverse talent pipeline that will meet the industry’s needs in the future. Companies showcased these workforce initiatives, from partnerships with colleges and state workforce systems to targeted outreach to military veterans, at 12th annual CEWD Summit in November.  
 
Beth Reese, CEWD chair and executive vice president and chief financial officer, Southern Company Gas, writes in the current issue of Electric Perspectives: “I was thrilled to attend the summit and was honored to join my fellow CEWD Board and Executive Council members to discuss how energy companies are using CEWD’s resources and tools to attract, educate, hire, and retain students, women, veterans, and transitioning adults for successful energy careers. We also previewed some fascinating data on the state of our workforce. 
 
“A key theme of the meeting was identifying and using strategic linkages among energy companies, educational institutions, unions, and the military, and developing long-term strategic solutions that meet companies’ needs for qualified, diverse workers.”
 
Industry Power Players
EEI Leaders Discuss the Future of Energy
Outgoing EEI Chairman and PNM Resources Chairman, President, and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn moderated a fascinating discussion with the industry’s key power players of the diverse challenges and opportunities ahead for the industry.

New EEI Chairman and Duke Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Lynn Good kicked off the session by outlining how her chairmanship will focus on customer service: “This is an industry that has long been dedicated to serving our customers. We saw that yesterday with the tribute to Puerto Rico power restoration workers. I’d like to do more to articulate and promote our industry as a customer-centric industry. It’s the heart, mission, and purpose of this industry. If we accomplish that and present ourselves as the customer-centric industry we are, it will make our industry’s ongoing transformation more successful.”

Greg Abel, executive chairman, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and vice chairman of non-insurance business operations at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said that service sets the electric power industry apart from others: “The focus on the customer—I don't think we can ever lose sight of that. When I look at other industries, it only emphasizes it more. As Lynn is leading the organization, I can't think of a better focus than that.”

EEI Vice Chairman and Xcel Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Ben Fowke discussed the challenges of keeping energy affordable and reliable while integrating growing renewable energy resources into the energy grid, saying that an all-of-the-above approach is vital: “Wind energy is a deeply in-the-money hedge for our customers,” he said. “We save them money, and we reduce carbon. This industry is leading the energy transformation, but we can never lose sight of reliability and affordability.”

Fowke also referred to the industry’s long-term commitment to serving customers and communities, engaging with stakeholders on critical topics, and creating the energy workforce of the future: “It’s obviously a huge challenge to replace legacy knowledge, but a great opportunity to position the workforce for success for years to come.”

Chris Crane, EEI vice chairman and Exelon Corporation chairman, president, and CEO, agreed and noted that his company is working with schools and community groups to help shape its future workforce. “Some programs that help us on retention involve partnering with schools and inner city programs that ready students for our industry—giving opportunities to underserved communities. We also have a 70-percent hire rate from our intern program.”

Crane also highlighted how bringing technology and showing that companies care about the communities they serve is crucial: "Being involved in the community and showing we care are key to how we build our trust with customers," he added.

“Our industry is so unique in many ways, and I’m so proud how we work together to solve big issues on behalf of our customers,” said Vincent-Collawn. She also highlighted the two major initiatives that defined her chairmanship: the Smart City Challenge, taken by electric companies representing 97 percent of the industry's customers, and the Diversity and Inclusion Commitment announced earlier at the Convention.​

On Twitter
Thank You to the Men and Women Who Helped Restore Power to Puerto Rico
Grid Security
EEI's Scott Aaronson on Protecting the Energy Grid from Cyber Threats

"America's electric companies work every day to produce and deliver energy that is reliable, affordable, safe, and increasingly clean for their customers. The energy grid powers our economy and our way of life, so providing reliable service is a responsibility electric companies take very seriously," writes ​Scott Aaronson, EEI vice president of security and preparedness, in Cyber Security and Data Management in the Modern Digital Age.

"Threats to that reliability have changed over time and continue to evolve. So, too, has our approach to security. The industry's member companies prepare for all hazards—​that means physical and cyber events, naturally occurring or manmade threats and severe weather of every kind. Since companies cannot protect every asset from every threat all the time, we must prioritize based on the likelihood and severity of a threat. We also focus on managing consequences by preparing to restore power quickly and safely, regardless of why an outage occurred."

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