It is important to us that we become even more diverse and inclusive from the board room to the front line. Having employees who represent different experiences, thought processes, generations, genders and racial and ethnic backgrounds helps us gain a broader perspective on business issues, challenges and solutions. It moves us to a place of viewing differences as strengths. It also solidifies our commitment to building a high-performing workforce that reflects the diverse communities we serve.
In 2017, AEP was recognized as a 2020 Women on Boards Winning “W” Company by the 2020 Women on Boards campaign. The mission of the campaign is to increase the percentage of women who sit on U.S. company boards to 20 percent or greater by 2020. Today, 25 percent of AEP’s Board of Directors is composed of women.
Currently, AEP’s leadership diversity is made up of 27 percent women and 13 percent minorities due to recent leadership changes. At the end of 2017, our Board of Directors, AEP leadership team and regional utility presidents included nine women, two African Americans and two Hispanics. Women made up 29 percent and minorities 13 percent of this group. Leadership diversity lays the foundation for enabling a more inclusive workforce that breaks down silos and creates a trusting, engaging and thought-provoking work environment. While we are making progress, we know we can do better – and we will. Our Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap will provide additional focus on the diversity of our leadership ranks through new targets and accountability goals.
Partnerships for Success
Our diversity efforts are fueled by a number of internal and external initiatives, programs and partnerships. Whether through educational institutions, professional associations, community organizations, employee resource groups (ERGs) or leadership development forums, we are focused on building and fostering partnerships that give us greater access to diverse talent.
In addition to Paradigm for Parity®, the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ pledge and the Columbus Commitment: Achieving Pay Equity, we currently have other relationships with organizations such as the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), Direct Employers, Prospanica, National Society of Black Engineers, American Association of Blacks in Energy, and the United Negro College Fund to assist us with our diversity efforts. These partnerships not only expose AEP to more diverse talent, but also help AEP become a recognized partner and leader among potential employees.
We have alliances with several colleges and universities that broaden access and reach to diverse candidates. Through our Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap, we are working on a plan to implement a companywide targeted college recruiting initiative that focuses on partnerships with schools representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and women’s colleges and universities, as well as working with Offices of Diversity and Inclusion at other colleges and universities. We have also set a goal that by 2022 at least 10 percent of new hires into full-time, entry-level jobs come from targeted high school development programs, technical colleges and/or universities (based on available opportunities).