The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) launched a first-of-its-kind online program to help energy companies take a series of actionable steps on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ). The DEIJ Best Practices Certification Program provides training and support for companies to analyze their DEIJ practices and implement workplace solutions that improve diversity. Participating companies accumulate points for the activities they complete and can achieve Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum certification.’
“Creating a diverse solar workforce and supply chain is not a nice-to-have, it’s an imperative, but many organizations don’t have the resources or programs in place that make it clear where to start,” said Maribelle Bostic, senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at SunPower. “The DEIJ certification program provides a roadmap for any company, big or small, through their DEIJ journey and is an important step toward ensuring everyone plays a role in a more diverse future.”
The program is launching alongside SEIA’s new online learning center, where members can access SEIA’s archived webinar content, and other resources. SEIA is asking companies to sign up for the program and begin working through the modules that will help them achieve certification.
Program details: The program encourages broad participation and rewards companies that are working in earnest to create a more inclusive work environment, serve their communities, and attract, hire, promote, and retain diverse talent. It was designed by Diversity Certified Professionals and uses an evidence-based approach to improving diversity practices within companies. The program was also designed so that all companies, regardless of their size, geographic footprint or resources, can achieve the highest levels of certification.
Who helped create it? Dozens of renewable energy companies beta-tested the certification program, and many organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE), American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), and Black Owned Solar Services (BOSS), contributed to the program.
“SEIA’s DEIJ Certification Program provides companies with concrete steps they can take to improve current practices, ultimately making the solar and storage industry more inclusive and equitable,” said Ajulo Othow, founder and CEO of EnerWealth Solutions and chair of the BOSS Advisory Committee. “BOSS is excited to continue its ongoing partnership with SEIA to ensure all businesses serving the solar energy industry are diverse. This unique and holistic approach is what the industry needs to evolve and thrive.”
“Alongside a growing understanding of the role of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in the success of a business, there is an increase in demand from not only employers and recruiters, but also job seekers for these types of programs,” said Kristen Graf, Executive Director of Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy. “SEIA is supporting the solar industry’s move from ambition to action by offering concrete tools and a process to qualify the work, benchmark, and showcase projects. We look forward to continuing to work with SEIA and renewable energy companies to ensure we have the diversity and talent we need across the supply chain.”
In June 2020, SEIA and its members launched a board-level task force called the DEIJ Leadership Council to drive the development of DEIJ-focused policies and programs for the solar industry. This new program is part of the council’s work, which also includes a supplier diversity database for the solar industry and a suite of policy principles on environmental justice and equity.
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