Diversity at AEP
From front-line employees to the board of directors, we value and celebrate diversity at AEP and in the communities where we live, work and operate. To us, diversity is about ethnicity, gender, age, and other demographic factors, as well as the differences that make our employees, customers, communities and board members unique. This diversity brings fresh perspectives and experiences, skills, ideas, culture and opinions to AEP, all of which make the work environment and the community a richer and better place.
The diversity of our board of directors, executive management team and regional utility presidents includes six women, two African Americans and three Hispanics. Women make up 19 percent of those in senior leadership while minorities comprise 16 percent of the total.
Having a board and management team with diverse representation of age, gender, ethnicity, culture and experience brings a broader perspective to business issues, allowing us to make more informed decisions. It also sets the tone for our commitment to diversity within our work force and in our communities.
In November 2013, AEP’s board diversity was celebrated at The Women’s Forum of New York’s 2013 Breakfast of Corporate Champions. The event recognizes Fortune 500 companies that have at least 20 percent female representation in their boardrooms. The Forum believes that these corporate champions can be an inspiration for other companies to advance gender balance in the board room. The diverse skills and perspectives women bring to AEP’s boardroom are vital in helping us navigate change and positioning the company for continued success.
Diversity in our work force extends from the boardroom to the front line. We track the advancement of females and minorities from front-line craft-level positions to executive posts. We had greater staffing opportunities in 2013 than in 2012, which had a positive impact on our diversity representation. Diversity is something we consider in every hiring decision.
AEP will continue to be deliberate in our efforts to fill positions, being mindful that demographics vary greatly across our service territory. Beyond that, we need to change how prospective employees view AEP. We want to be seen as a progressive company that offers a rewarding career path for the future.
In order to maintain diversity in our employee candidate pool, we have established strong relationships with universities with large minority and female populations, including Texas A&M University–Kingsville, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Tuskegee University and the University of Puerto Rico. We also have partnerships with organizations such as the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), Direct Employers and the United Negro College Fund to assist us with our diversity recruitment efforts.
Jobs for veterans
AEP representatives accept the Faraday Award in recognition of the company’s efforts to recruit, retain and mentor military veterans.
AEP participated in the CEWD Troops to Energy Jobs pilot, which wrapped up in July 2013. This was a collaborative effort with five other utility companies – Dominion, Southern Company, Arizona Public Service, Pacific Gas & Electric, and National Grid. The purpose of the initiative was to build a sustainable framework to help accelerate the training and employability of veterans in key energy positions. It was also designed to assist veterans in making a successful transition into our industry. The pilot accomplished its mission and a national template was formed to assist energy companies across the country in their efforts to hire veterans, helping them to develop a comprehensive initiative for military outreach, education, recruiting and retention.
AEP received the Faraday Award in April 2014 as part of Electric Power’s annual conference. The recognition signifies AEP’s partnership and involvement in the Power4Vets program, which earned national recognition as an outstanding effort in the electric power sector to recruit, retain and mentor veterans who are returning to civilian careers after serving in the armed forces.
Employee resource groups
Asian American Employee Partnership officers
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are another way we give voice to the diversity of our work force. These groups support AEP’s values and goals, strengthen communication between AEP and its employees, provide a forum for exchanging new ideas and enhance the company’s desirability as a prospective employer. AEP’s ERGs are the Asian American Employee Partnership, Hispanic Origin-Latin American (HOLA) Employee Resource Group, African American Employee Resource Group, AEP Pride Partnership (for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and their supporters) and the Military Veterans Employee Resource Group. The last group, the newest to be formed in 2013, is a company-wide network enabling increased support for military members, veterans and their families. AEP ERGs coordinate activities to share their heritage through music, art, food and cultural events for all employees. They also host personal development programs, assist in diversity recruitment and participate in community outreach events throughout the year.
Human rights in the workplace is an important social issue for all companies. Recognizing the evolving diversity of our work force and the global economy we operate within, AEP has changed policies, benefits, training and other resources to be more inclusive. The AEP Pride Partnership group worked with the Office of Diversity to greatly improve the company’s rating on the annual Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. This index has become a benchmarking tool for large U.S. companies in terms of fair, nondiscriminatory treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) employees in the workplace. AEP’s rating has risen to 80 on a scale of 1 to 100, compared with previous ratings of 55 in 2013 and 15 in 2012. AEP was one of 734 employers rated in the 2014 survey.