Utility Executives, Attorney Explore Workforce Diversity Challenges During Waterpower Week Event

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Utility Executives, Attorney Explore Workforce Diversity Challenges During Waterpower Week Event


March 15, 2021


Utility Executives, Attorney Explore Workforce Diversity Challenges During Waterpower Week Event

NHA thanks our sponsors:


Recognizing the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the workplace is one thing.

Going beyond that recognition to actually implement programs is quite another.

As part of the upcoming Waterpower Week event, the National Hydropower Association and the Hydropower Foundation are working together to highlight what’s actually being done in the hydro sector regarding DEI.

Two Washington State utility executives Allison Jubb, human resources director for Snohomish County Public Utility District, and Laura Vickers, director of culture, diversity and people services for Avista Corporation, will share specific actions their companies are taking to address the challenges. They are speaking on Wednesday, April 28, in the session, “Facing the Workforce Diversity Challenge”. They will be joined by Harmon L. (Monty) Cooper, counsel for the Washington, D.C.,-based international law firm Crowell and Moring.

Linda Church Ciocci, executive director of the Hydropower Foundation, organized and is moderating the session. “One of the most important facets of the Foundation’s mission is to foster programs that develop a strong workforce,” Ciocci said. “In the policy/regulatory sector of the industry, it’s important we answer the tough questions of what can be done to address unconscious biases in the workplace.”

The waterpower industry recognizes it significantly lacks diversity in gender, race, and ethnicity.  According to a report produced by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the hydro industry’s workforce is less than one third female, 16 percent Hispanic, 11 percent African American, 6 percent Asian and 1 percent Native American.

“The question is – what steps can industry take to remedy the situation?” asked Ciocci. That’s what we intend to explore in this session during Waterpower Week.”

This session is one of 16 panel discussions offered as part of the virtual Waterpower Week event. The topics for the sessions were pulled together by a content development committee, consisting of industry, resource agencies, regulators, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In addition to the content, the three-day event consists of a virtual exhibit hall and plenty of informal networking opportunities.

NHA, the event’s organizer/owner, is offering an innovative networking platform, with the goal of simulating the experience attendees have in person in between sessions or during coffee breaks and receptions.

“We recognize the great value in informal – or organic – interaction/networking, and how much the industry misses that in this time of social distancing,” said Francesca Blanco, senior director of meetings and events for NHA. “We have a very effective platform we will be using during the virtual event to enable attendees to informally connect and meet up – in a very similar manner as they would at a live event. We are excited about the possibilities!”

Recognizing the time zone challenges for attendees, NHA is offering some sessions twice, at different times of day, so all participants will have a chance to attend. Additionally, all sessions during the event will be recorded and will be available to paid registrants to access after the event.

Registration is now open for the virtual Waterpower Week. “Early bird” rates available through the end of March.

Sponsors of the event include:

  • Platinum Sponsor: GE Renewable Energy and Ames Construction
  • Gold Sponsor: Voith Hydro
  • Silver Sponsors: Kleinschmidt Associates and Van Ness Feldman LLP
  • Bronze Sponsors: Black & Veatch, Schnabel Engineering, HDR, and MAVEL

For details, visit: https://waterpowerweek.com