Duke Energy's DE&I Programs

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At Duke Energy, diversity, equity and inclusion are more than just an attempt to show that the company is making an effort to build a diverse and talented workforce. Instead, DE&I is “a business imperative that is wired into how we power communities and run our business,” according to Duke Energy’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Cameron McDonald.

“We are guided by our vision of an inclusive environment where all people are valued, respected, and encouraged to reach their full potential,” she commented. “We pursue a strategy that integrates diversity and inclusion into everything we do.”

McDonald pointed out that at Duke Energy, which serves 8.2 million customers in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, diversity and inclusion encompasses more than race and gender. It also includes “diversity of thought, work and life experiences, perspectives, and cultures.”

Duke Energy continuously evaluates its hiring practices to enhance its efforts to attract a talented and diverse workforce now and in the future. The company is dedicated to building and nurturing relationships with four-year colleges and technical schools, as well as with community organizations. For example, in 2021, Duke established a pilot program with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities in South Carolina and North Carolina that provides students with mentoring, internships, and “access to the rapidly evolving clean energy workforce.”

Last November, Duke Energy announced that it will help create a diverse flow of talent to the nuclear energy workforce by providing $150,000 in scholarships to South Carolina State University. Over three years, the scholarships will go to 15 nuclear engineering students, thus increasing the number of diverse graduates in the university’s nuclear engineering program.

Developing and strengthening relationships with HBCUs has been an important part of Duke Energy’s strategy since 2018 when the company was the first utility to sign onto the HBCU Partnership Challenge, which was created by Congress to get corporations involved with HBCUs. The company actively recruits HBCU students for its internship and co-op programs and full-time positions for graduates.

“South Carolina State University has a significant reputation as a leader in building the high-quality workforce our state and nation need today and in years to come,” said Mike Callahan, president of Duke Energy’s utility operations in South Carolina. “We are excited about the future of the clean energy workforce and what these scholars will achieve.”

Support for DE&I at Duke Energy starts at the top with the leadership team, which constantly strives to reach and exceed the company’s diversity and inclusion goals. For instance, in 2021, Duke Energy established a new employee resource group to represent Native American employees.

“In addition, we’ve developed a portfolio of training for all employees to build our knowledge and understanding of diversity equity and inclusion and build skills and capabilities for creating a more inclusive workplace,” McDonald explained.

Since 2020, Duke Energy has committed more than $8 million to organizations that support social justice and racial equity. Through a partnership with E4 Carolinas, Duke Energy is making sure students of color have access to the clean energy workforce through an HBCU Energy Leadership Pathway program. Over the past couple of years, the company has held events at more than 20 HBCUs in its service area. Duke Energy also provides scholarships through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, North Carolina Central University School of Law, and the South Carolina Washington Semester Program to help students access career opportunities in energy, government, law, and politics.

“An empowered, diverse workforce and inclusive workplace make us a stronger company and provide a competitive advantage for connection with the ever-changing needs of our customers and communities,” McDonald concluded.