DOE is dedicated to communicating accurate and timely information to communities to protect human health and the environment. DOE is also committed to transparency, integrity, and empathy in all our work. We honor cultural heritage and cultivate and nurture relationships through communication, education, and outreach. Our communication efforts bridge the gap between DOE and the public.
Education and training are some of the most effective ways to address EJ concerns, as they allow stakeholders to be involved and participate meaningfully in the decision-making processes to improve their communities. Over the years, DOE has effectively educated and trained stakeholders, including community leaders, community members, and DOE staff, to build the capacity of communities.
We communicate and engage with local communities, state and local governments, and tribal nations in person, print, and digitally through public meetings, conferences, outreach events, fact sheets, brochures, stakeholder surveys, press releases, quarterly program updates, offices and sites website, and social media.
Public participation is one of the cornerstones of EJ. Public participation and community involvement strategies must include a proactive public involvement process that provides complete information, timely public notice, full public access to key decisions, and supports early and continuing public involvement in developing plans, programs, and research. The Department includes the following community engagement activities:
Community Leaders Institutes (CLI) and Technical Assistance Workshops (TAW)
DOE sponsors the CLI which is developed and implemented by the MUSC. The goal of the CLI is to educate community leaders to access and obtain information that is necessary to make good decisions, as well as communicate this information back to its community members. The CLIs help communities with the process to participate in federal decision-making processes.
Progress requires informed and active leaders. CLIs reinforce this principle and emphasize the unique relationship between environmental protection, human health, EJ, and economic development as an essential part of community development. Because of CLIs, community leaders across the country can be informed and take on active leadership roles to encourage development in their communities. Following the completion of the CLI, a TAW is held at each CLI location. The purpose of the TAW is to emphasize essential “how-to” skills needed for preparing and managing a good grant application. The following CLIs and TAWs were held:
- January 28, 2017 – A CLI was held at Savannah, Georgia.
- May 19-20, 2017 – A CLI was held at Allen University, Columbia, South Carolina.
- March 19, 2018 – A TAW was sponsored by DOE and the MUSC. The one-day collaborative TAW was held in Farmington, New Mexico. The grant writing workshop was organized due to the Four Corners Forum. During this workshop participants were able to gain the skills needed to prepare a good grant application.
- July 27-28, 2018 – A CLI was held at the Church House of Ministries Worldwide-Ladson Sanctuary Ladson, South Carolina. MUSC, DOE, Allen University, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, and The Church House Ministries Worldwide Ladson collaborated to conduct the institute. The purpose of this CLI was to reinforce and to emphasize the unique relationship between Community Development and Health Disparities/Health Issues. Presenters represented the DOE, U.S. Department of Agriculture, EPA, state environmental agencies, local officials, academia, business, and industry.
Teaching Radiation, Energy, and Technology (TREAT) Workshop
A TREAT workshop was held at the University of South Carolina (USC) Aiken, July 11-13, 2018. Attendance consisted of 30 teachers and 12 students. Other attendees included the manager of the DOE SRS, the mayor of Aiken, the president of USC Aiken, community representatives from South Carolina and Georgia, state and local representatives, federal agency partners, and the private sector.
The SRS meeting strategy is to provide an opportunity to capitalize on building stronger networks with the same stakeholders that live right next door, as well as downstream to the SRS.
DOE Headquarters and SRS partnered with Savannah State University (SSU) in Georgia to develop and carry out TREAT workshops. The overall goal of the workshops is to educate kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, students, and members of the community who reside near the SRS about radiation, sources of radiation, radioactive waste management, the effects of radiation on environmental health, and the negative impact of environmental radiation exposures to humans. TREAT workshops are designed to educate teachers so they can provide essential information to their students, with hopes of fostering career opportunities in engineering and nuclear fields. Teachers also hope to take the radiation message back to their communities.
“It really impacted me when Reverend Boseman said, ‘If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu,’ because it made me realize that in order to make a difference, I have to take action and give myself a chance for my voice to be heard.”
– Kia Smith, Dillard University
Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) Community of Partners Council
DOE is a partner of MSIs Community of Partners Council. The goal of the council is to increase MSI participation in the work of federal agencies to assist in managing federally funded programs and expose the institutions to federal procurement programs. The council is also committed to utilizing its members to provide programs, activities, and services that strengthen the capacity of MSIs to
provide educational excellence, improve financial and physical infrastructure, and effectively participate in federal procurements. The council is further committed to enhancing the impact of federal programs serving MSIs and preparing students to be part of the nation’s workforce and federal employment.
Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) Community of Partners Council / MSI Partnership (MSIPP) Program
DOE is a partner of MSIs Community of Partners Council. The goal of the council is to increase MSI participation in the work of federal agencies to assist in managing federally funded programs and expose the institutions to federal procurement programs. The council is also committed to utilizing its members to provide programs, activities, and services that strengthen the capacity of MSIs to provide educational excellence, improve financial and physical infrastructure, and effectively participate in federal procurements. The council is further committed to enhancing the impact of federal programs serving MSIs and preparing students to be part of the nation’s workforce and federal employment.
MSI Partnership Program (MSIPP)
The MSI Partnership Program (MSIPP) is designed to build a sustainable pipeline between DOE sites/labs and MSIs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and bring a heightened awareness of the NNSA plants and laboratories to institutions with a common interest in STEM research fields.
In 2018, under its MSIPP, DOE continued to support three consortiums established in prior years and awarded grants to three new consortiums consisting of partnerships between select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and NNSA plants and laboratories. These teams bring together MSIs that share similar interests in STEM research areas with the facilities and technology available at NNSA plants and laboratories.
Los Alamos hosted a combined cohort of 27 participants in various MSI and MSIPP internships and research positions in 2018. The laboratory collaborated with a local minority school district to sponsor the second year of a three-year math and science academy. The laboratory also awarded a newly established Native American Business Administration Scholarship in addition to numerous scholarships to deserving minority students from the LANL Foundation.
Currently MSIPP supports six consortium-based teams consisting of participants from select institutions. These teams bring together institutions that share interests in STEM research areas and who can utilize the facilities and technology available at DOE/NNSA labs and sites.
- Consortium Enabling Cybersecurity Opportunities and Research
- Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing
- Consortium for Materials and Energy Security
- Consortium for Research on the Science and Engineering of Signatures
- Consortium for Integrating Energy Systems in Engineering and Science Education
- Advanced Manufacturing Network
MSIPP is a specialized program focused on supporting specific MSIs. Therefore, it is only open to students that attend a school that has an active federal grant under MSIPP. Students apply through their institution.
MSIPP supports the following institutions:
- Alabama A&M University
- Alabama State University
- Alcorn University
- Allen University and Voorhees College
- American Indian Higher Education Consortium
- Bay Mills Community College
- Benedict College
- Bowie State University
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College
- Claflin University
- Clark Atlanta University
- Delaware State University
- Denmark Technical College
- Fisk University
- Florida A&M University
- Miami Dade College
- Morehouse College
- Morris College
- Navajo Technical University
- North Carolina A&T State University
- Prairie View A&M University
- Salish Kootenai College
- South Carolina State University
- Southern University of Baton Rouge
- Southern University of New Orleans
- Tennessee State University
- Turtle Mountain Community College
- Tuskegee University
- Universidad Del Turabo
- University of New Mexico
- University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez
- University of Texas at El Paso
Participating DOE/NNSA national laboratories and sites:
- Kansas City National Security Campus (NNSA)
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (NNSA)
- National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE)
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Pacific Northwest Laboratory
- University of the Virgin Islands
Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance (BVDA) Presentation and Site Tour
A presentation and site tour of the Bluewater, New Mexico, Disposal Site was conducted by DOE on April 20, 2018. The DOE EJ Program Manager and Senior Advisor facilitated the scheduling and planning of this senior management presentation and site tour. BVDA is part of a larger group, known as the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), which is a grassroots group made up largely of residents and property owners directly affected by groundwater pollution and radiation releases from the Homestake/Barrick Gold Mining Company uranium mill and tailings pile near Milan, New Mexico, and by the historic discharges of mining and milling waste from dozens of mines and two other uranium mills in the Ambrosia Lake Mining District northwest of Grants, New Mexico. The meeting and site tour were an opportunity for meaningful engagement and interaction with the community and more specifically to listen and address the concerns of BVDA and other interested parties. Site tour participants included representatives from DOE Headquarters, DOE Grand Junction Office, BVDA, MASE, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other interested parties (including the media). The tour was followed by a presentation at the Milan Parks and Recreation building. Approximately 20 to 25 people attended.