When Cynthia McClain Hill took over as president of the nation’s largest municipal utility in 2020, foremost on her mind was transformative change in the advancement of diversity efforts for all stakeholders and an action plan that included a workforce development initiative with good paying jobs and career opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities.
True to her word the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has advanced a Racial Equity Action Plan that has enacted supplier diversity, economic development and community engagement opportunities, the most recent of which being a five-year, $5 million research partnership agreement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The agreement will allow LADWP to partner with AMIE (Advancing Minorities interest in Engineering) and HBCU’s on a variety of research projects necessary to meet required city and state mandates as well as strengthen the department’s relationship with HBCU’s.
Prior to the partnership with AMIE, the LADWP had been recruiting from six HBCUs.
“This agreement allows us to even double that. That’s something that we’re really proud of. We really want to be able to have a strong presence with these HBCUs and as a graduate of Tuskegee University, I’m ecstatic about it,” said Ty Washington”, Executive Assistant to the DWP General Manager.
“We had a whole host of recommendations that focused on workforce development, economic development, supplier diversity and things like that. This one specifically talks about aspects surrounding recruitment purposes for HBCUs, so we found this organization [AMIE] and felt comfortable about collaborating with them to help satisfy that recommendation from our racial equity action plan.”
AMIE is a non-profit organization that strives to increase diversity in the engineering workforce. AMIE will coordinate technical and scientific research on behalf of LADWP and the 15 accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities of Engineering. Topics for potential technical and research include commercial storm water capture analysis, microgrid and energy storage system assessment and economic and job analysis of LADWP’s energy efficiency programs.
McClain Hill couldn’t be more pleased that LADWP has aligned with AMIE and such nationally recognized research institutions that have a strong tradition of empowering African Americans, but “have historically been excluded from these type of research opportunities”.
The findings from the research will help LADWP meet technical water and energy goals and mandates relevant to promoting water conservation, enhance water recycling and climate adaptation planning, develop energy efficiency programs, electrify the transportation network, promote solar energy and improve workforce engagement.
“This partnership to engage HBCU’s at the research level will also further strengthen our ability at LADWP to attract top talent from these nationally recognized Historically Black Colleges and Universities for future employment at LADWP said Martin L. Adams, General Manager LADWP”.
The participating Historically Black Colleges & Universities include: Alabama A&M University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University of the District of Columbia and Virginia State University.