to leverage the diversity and intellectual diversity
around us,” says Wright.
Some companies are partnering with colleges in
urban and underserved areas to build a pipeline of
green-collar job candidates. The University of Dayton
(Ohio) launched the state’s first master’s degree program in renewable energy; Cerro Coso Community
College in California City, Calif., has begun offering an
eight-week-long Wind Technology Boot Camp, where
former factory and construction workers are being
retrained to repair turbines.
Public/private groups are launching green-collar
training initiatives, too. In Baltimore, B’More Green, a
nonprofit job-training program, partners with local businesses and construction unions to prepare
individuals from underserved communities for jobs
in environmental building and technology. Ninety
percent of the program’s 136 graduates are employed.
Meanwhile, Greencorps Chicago, created by the City
of Chicago Department of Environment, is training
people from underserved urban neighborhoods for
green jobs, such as electronic waste recycling and
As money from the stimulus package filters into
communities and government appointees fulfill new
roles, expect to see more green-collar programs. “
Sustainability is more important than ever,” says Wright.
“This economic downturn is driving more organiza-
tions to be more efficient. Those who embrace the
energy economy and are the most efficient about
their use of energy are going to come out ahead.” ❚
© 2009 DiversityInc. This advertising-supported section was written
by Bob Trebilcock under contract to DiversityInc. Content
is the property of DiversityInc. For more information or to order
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XCEL ENERGY’S FUTURE IS IN RENEWABLES
From wind farms to solar arrays,
Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy is turning to renewable and other clean-energy
technologies to serve communities across
eight Midwestern and
“We need to do
more than just provide
electricity to meet our
customers’ needs,” says
Tim Kawakami, director of Purchased Power.
“For over 100 years, we have focused on
providing reliable, reasonably priced energy.
Today, our customers also expect us to
minimize our environmental impact.”
In 2008, Xcel Energy was named to the
Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third
consecutive year; companies on the index
are considered best-in-class for environmental, economic and social performance.
The company’s strategy is shaped by the
belief that a clean-energy future will require
increased use of energy efficiency and a
combination of advanced technologies.
Today, renewable-energy sources
account for about 11 percent of the company’s electric generation, and the company
is looking down the road to grow this to 25
percent by 2020.
For three years, the American Wind
Energy Association has recognized Xcel
Energy as the nation’s No. 1 wind energy
provider, and this year, the Solar Electric
Power Association ranked the company No.
5 in the nation for solar capacity.
“We are very proud of our leadership role and what we have done, but we
know there is a lot more to do,” explains
Kawakami. “Most of all, we know that
renewable energy is here to stay.”
For the company to achieve its clean-energy future, it will take a creative and talented work force to identify and propose
new, sustainable solutions. The integration
of diversity and inclusion in Xcel’s business
plans is a key element that builds operational excellence.
“Diversity and inclusion is an integral
part of who we are, how we operate and
how we see our future,” Kawakami says.
“Diversity is a core value of our organization, and it is reflected in the company’s
code of conduct.”