Equity in EnergyTM is an initiative designed to include and expand the participation of individuals in underserved communities, which includes minorities, Native Americans, women, veterans, and formerly incarcerated persons, in all the programs of the Department of Energy. Equity in Energy also seeks to infuse and expand participation in the private energy sectors in our nation’s economy to ensure America’s energy independence.
On Tuesday, August 13, 2019, Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity the Honorable James E. Campos, hosted the Equity In Energy™ Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Stakeholder Discussion at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the third in a series of meetings to solicit feedback directly from leaders in the community, and facilitate an enhanced open dialogue with Departmental elements.
Director Campos opened the meeting with an overview of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, the Equity In EnergyTM initiative, and the importance of energy diversity. Next, Holly Ham, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on AAPI, spoke about the growing energy economy and the potential it presents to the AAPI community. Also, Executive Director Ham noted the disparities between different ethnicities within the AAPI community and the myth of being the model minority – the notion that virtually all AAPIs are self-sufficient, well-educated, and upwardly mobile. For instance, while the total AAPI unemployment rate of 2.1% is lower than the national rate, Pacific Islanders have the highest unemployment rate of all racial and ethnic groups. Jimmy Rhee, Special Secretary of the Maryland Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, discussed the challenges of business competency and access to capital.
Presentations by Director Charles Smith of the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Director Angelina LaRose of the Office of Integrated & International Energy Analysis at the Energy Information Administration, and Jennifer Rivers, an Energy Technology Program Specialist for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, described how their offices are working to advance the mission to increase the participation of underserved communities in the energy sector.
After the presentations, the conversation opened up for the stakeholders to describe challenges the energy sector faces and discuss with DOE possible solutions.
Several stakeholders inquired about the DOE effort to increase participation of AAPI in the energy sector and also specific actions they can take to become involved in the Equity in Energy initiative. Director Campos explained that Equity in Energy will include internal and external stakeholder representatives. He encouraged interested stakeholders to contact the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. Director Smith suggested attendance at next years’ Small Business Forum & Expo in Charleston, SC. This annual conference provides opportunities for stakeholders to learn about the energy sector from distinguished speakers and to participate in One-on-One Matchmaking Business Sessions with DOE Small Business Program Managers, contractors and other small businesses.
At the conclusion of the meeting, attendees networked with each other and DOE staff to continue dialogue in the future.