It’s been 53 years since the Stonewall Uprising, a six-day series of events widely considered to be the start of the movement to outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) people. Today, June is nationally known as Pride month. On May 31, President Biden issued a proclamation that “call[s] upon the people of the United States to recognize the achievements of the LGBTQI+ community, to celebrate the great diversity of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is answering the call and raising the Progress Pride flag—which signals inclusion of LGBTQI+ people of color, transgender people, and those living with and lost to HIV/AIDS—at its buildings in Washington, D.C., and Germantown, Maryland, as well as at the 17 national laboratories. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is celebrating Pride month by demonstrating commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“I strongly believe the only way we accomplish our clean energy goals is by ensuring diversity of thought is present in every level of our workforce,” says EERE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman. “EERE is proud to celebrate our LGBTQI+ community members during Pride Month and recognizes their contributions every day of the year toward reaching our collective goals of a cleaner, more equitable future for all of us.”
Diversity and Inclusion in EERE and Beyond
DOE is weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of the nation’s energy landscape, and that work starts at headquarters. At EERE, we’re working to ensure broad diversity in everything we do, including recruitment. This month, EERE leadership staff are undergoing unconscious bias training.
“Because of all of the planned hiring we will be doing through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we want to set the tone from the top,” says EERE Senior Advisor for Diversity Terrence Mosley. “We don’t want any previous or personal biases to keep us from hiring as diverse a workforce as possible, so we can all participate in providing decarbonization solutions for all communities. We want every employee at EERE to feel a sense of belonging and support.”
To support employees, DOE has an employee resource group called Energy PRIDE, which connects LGBTQI+ staff and allies across the Department to promote diversity and inclusion through continuous learning. The group also works closely with DOE leadership and DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity to ensure that DOE’s culture and policies are inclusive of LGBTQI+ individuals. “It is so empowering to know that our community is valued and supported at the highest levels of the Department,” says Margaret Kotzalas, president of Energy PRIDE.
If you are ready to take the next step in your clean energy career in an inclusive workplace, check out these clean energy jobs at EERE.
DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity works to address underrepresentation of LGBTQI+ Americans and other marginalized populations in the U.S. workforce and the scientific community. For example, the Equity in Energy initiative is designed to expand the inclusion and participation of individuals in underserved communities in DOE and the private energy sector.
A diverse and inclusive workforce in DOE and the entire U.S. energy community paves the way to energy independence. It brings new, innovative ideas to the fore that can deliver widespread access to affordable clean energy. But just as important, a diverse and inclusive workforce also makes daily life better for workers. Being seen and supported helps everyone do their jobs better so we can decarbonize the electric grid and the economy on time.
Happy Pride from EERE!