By Laura Clise, Director External Communications, AREVA Inc.
History was made this past Wednesday as Department of Energy Director Dot Harris hosted leaders from government, industry, education, and community organizations at the first-ever White House Forum on Minorities in Energy. With presentations and dialogue, participants explored the critical role energy plays in U.S. economic prosperity, national security, and environmental sustainability. But of significant historical note was the Forum’s focus on and acknowledgement of the important role minority communities must perform as we work across sectors and communities to advance American economic competitiveness and innovation leadership.
Building off of the launch of the Minorities in Energy initiative in September, the White House Forum brought additional stakeholders together around the shared commitment to do more regarding how minority communities can drive success in what Deputy Secretary Poneman called “a critical-mission space.” Key points included challenges and opportunities for the Obama Administration’s commitment to America’s leadership in accelerating the global energy transformation, the importance of energy and infrastructure resilience to withstand impacts of climate change and severe weather, and working across sectors to effectively tap the full capabilities of America’s diverse talent pool.
Energy Secretary Moniz introduced the Ambassadors of the Minorities in Energy initiative, including AREVA Inc. CEO Michael Rencheck, and applauded them for their leadership and advocacy. These twenty leaders from the public, private, and civic sectors will play a key role in championing the initiative’s mission and helping effectively and proactively engage minority communities in support of the energy sector.
The Forum also featured three panel sessions on the topics of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and workforce development, economic development, and climate change. Since minority communities are often disproportionately impacted by energy issues and climate change, the Minorities in Energy initiative seeks to raise energy and climate change awareness and engagement among minority populations.
These are also important topics for AREVA, and guide our commitments in hiring a diverse workforce (including veterans), strengthening regional economies with steady and safe energy generation, engaging with small and minority-owned business suppliers, and providing our utility customers with a competitive portfolio of advanced clean energy technologies.
We proudly support the vision articulated by the Minorities in Energy initiative, and agree that stakeholders must work together to ensure minority communities both benefit from and engage in leading the advancement of U.S. energy technology and infrastructure.