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Event Recap: Ensuring the Participation of All in the New Energy Economy and Workforce

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law represents a once-in-a-generation investment that can—with careful thought and attention to implementation—accelerate the clean energy transition and grow the economy and jobs sustainably and equitably. Additionally, the Biden administration has set an executive order goal of delivering 40% of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities, but delivering on the racial and social equity promises of the Justice40 Initiative requires a long-term commitment and whole-of-government coordination.

On April 26th, the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) and the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a virtual event with inclusive energy workforce experts knowledgeable in leveraging government investment and private-public collaboration to ensure the participation of all communities. The event featured remarks from House Committee on Energy and Commerce member Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Robert Matthews, VP and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Exelon
  • Ralph Cleveland, President & CEO of AABE
  • Arlen Herrell, Deputy Chief of Innovation and Partnerships, District of Columbia Department of Employment Services

The event began with Veasey highlighting the transformative opportunity posed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the challenge to build a national clean energy sector that uplifts all Americans.

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Veasy’s remarks were followed by a fantastic panel with decades of experience in building an inclusive clean energy workforce. Matthews emphasized the need to interlink the mission of companies with an inclusive workforce. 

Cleveland highlighted that cultivating a resilient, innovative, and thriving clean energy supply chain and economy requires engagement with underrepresented entrepreneurs.  

Given his extensive experience in supporting and developing workers from all backgrounds at DC Department of Employment Services, Herrell spoke about mechanisms in government that enable an inclusive workforce.   

Success in workforce inclusion and development depends on the continuous commitment and accountability to measurable outcomes. Robert emphasized the need for businesses to be thoughtful, measure  long-term outcomes, and be accountable to workers and communities. 

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