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Question

"Minority Interviewing & Hiring Opportunities within the Utilities Industry" Inquiry

Xavier Davis's picture
Engineering Systems Specialist Coweta-Fayette EMC

Engineering System Specialist that administers the facilitates the GIS mobile and Asset Management platforms for my electrical utility cooperative.

  • Member since 2020
  • 21 items added with 794 views
  • Sep 26, 2022
  • 795 views

Although we have new and experienced minority professionals within our utilities industry (past and present), what can we do as utility professionals to not only interview quality minority candidates for utility open positions but also increase 2nd interview & offer letter of employment opportunities for minorities at all levels (entry level to executive positions) within our industry?

Thank you in advance for your responses!

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This is my personal, professional view only which is not of Coweta-Fayette EMC, nor anyone else or any company associated with my profile. Thank you.

 

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Many years ago, the color of one’s skin dictated whether or not an individual was treated fairly and equally. We should not repeat that earlier gross disregard of our constitution. All are created equal.

Seems to me special help should be given based on an individual’s financial plight, with a key driver being an individual’s inherent abilities and desire to perform a job. Skin color is irrelevant. In passing, skills are acquired and honed doing a job, with a lot of college level education not particularly useful.

Candidates with a desire to work hard are key. Needed special job skills will evolve with doing the work. Do not screen out individuals because some of the HR boxes are unchecked. Take the effort to personally talk with those non-standard candidates that may be diamonds in the rough.

Xavier Davis's picture
Xavier Davis on Oct 6, 2022

Michael, Thank you for your comments which are greatly appreciated! Education has always been and always will be a key (past, present, and future) for minorities to get through the door. I think that the problem has been for many minorities is trying to get the job experiences to get into entry-level and advancement roles in the future. From there, it makes the minority candidate have a much difficult time or opportunity to obtain leadership, supervisory and executive management roles. Exposure and providing awareness of STEM careers are very important to minorities during there k-12 and undergraduate education years. Also, let's not forget the importance of mentorship to help minorities advance in their career journey!

Education, Education Education. Don't start at the end, start at the begining. The best way to get candidates past the first interview is if they are properly prepared for the first, and make the impression that hiring managers will want to bring them back. Utilties should support programs like EPRI's GridED program which is making a huge effort to provide education for utilities to not just upscale existing employees to meet the challenges of of the digital age, but also provide curriculum for schools to educate and attract students to the utilities industry.  EPRI is working with HBCU's that have engineering schools to advance the GridEd program. The more utilities that join GridEd, the more we start at the root and watch the tree grow. In New York there are no HBCUs that have engineering schools but here at NYPA we have taken on CCNY's Grove School of Engineering (located in Harlem) which has a significant minority student body, and the University of Puerto Rico' s engineering school as GridED program affiliate schools. Through this program University of Puerto Rico has won two grants for student innovative projects. 

Xavier Davis's picture
Xavier Davis on Sep 29, 2022

Thanks Ben for providing this information! Education is definitely important and serves as foundation for k-12 students in minority populations regarding STEM awareness. From there, STEM educational resources and information awareness can be spread to colleges and universities (HBCUs and PWIs) across the nation. I was not originally aware of the EPRI's GridED program and have taken note of this resources. Thanks again!

Ben Ettlinger's picture
Ben Ettlinger on Oct 6, 2022

GridEd has both live/virtual training and a large amount of curricula for classes. The program has not yet reached down to the STEM level for high schools but I can bring it up. In fact there is a GridEd program emeber meeting this afternoon.

Xavier Davis's picture
Xavier Davis on Oct 6, 2022

Thanks Ben for providing this info!

Great question!  Interviewing candidates has to be equal for everyone.  Let’s say you typically make an offer on the 3rd or 4th interview and you change that to a 2nd interview for minorities that could be looked upon as potential discrimination.    Same goes for background checks, using an in-depth workstyle and personality assessments and skills testing– if you do them for everyone and skip a certain class that could also be seen as potentially being discriminatory.  The simple answer is to just treat everyone the same way.  As far as recruiting – find a local school that teaches a position that you have a need for then talk to the head of the department and the instructor.  Find out who they think would be a good potential candidate.  If you’d like to talk further please give me a call or email me – 310-453-6556 x403 or dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Xavier Davis's picture
Xavier Davis on Sep 29, 2022

Dana, Thank you for answering my question. I appreciate your feedback in which you brought a unique light in answering my question which I never thought about.  I will continue to be in touch with you!

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