In June 2020, U.S. WIN issued a statement reaffirming our commitment against racism and discrimination and calling out the appalling deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. In our statement, we also pledged to listen, learn, and find ways for our community to truly support this vital work. After much consideration, we determined that the best place for U.S. WIN to start is by taking meaningful action on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) in the nuclear industry. U.S. WIN believes it is uniquely situated to support DE&I in the nuclear industry with over 8,000 members across universities, commercial nuclear power, government, and national labs. Further, U.S. WIN’s strategic objectives align with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, specifically relevant is the objective to “drive a culture in nuclear energy and technology in which women and men succeed.” Further, U.S. WIN believes having a diverse workforce is not only beneficial for achieving parity and creating an inclusive work environment, but it also has proven commercial benefits and improved outcomes when diverse views are present in a work-setting.
To kick off this initiative, U.S. WIN hosted a workshop in July on Solutions for Advancing Diversity in Nuclear – Beyond the Status Quo. The workshop included participants from a wide array of organizations including – NEI, NAYGN, ANS, Nuclear Gender Champions, Arizona Public Service Company, Exelon, GE-Hitachi, Duke, Westinghouse, Entergy, Tennessee Valley Authority, Idaho National Labs and Luminant. Additionally, we included representatives from the University of Tennessee and North Carolina State University as well as two individuals, external to the nuclear industry. Participants from these organizations included a cross section of both gender and race.
The initial workshop focused on three problem statements:
- There is not enough diversity in the energy education and talent pipeline.
- Diverse candidates exist, but recruiting and hiring systems aren’t aligned to sources.
- We bring in diverse talent, but they leave.
The workshop highlighted that while there have been many actions taken by the nuclear industry, there has been little movement to close the gap in a diversified workforce. After several months of conversations with executives, third parties, and U.S. WIN members, we realized that there is no common problem statement or alignment across the industry for what we are seeking to solve. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion must be tackled by the industry as a whole, and here is where we find U.S. WIN’s next step.
U.S. WIN is organizing a facilitated session to align on a common problem statement for use across the industry. The facilitated session will be conducted by Fishbird, an organization that uses neuropsychology to work through tough issues and break through old paradigms and mindsets to arrive at a solution. They have worked with Virgin Mobile, the Wall Street Journal, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, and Edison Energy, among other organizations. The attendees will include executives and mid-level staff. We have been working closely with the U.S. WIN Executive Advisory Committee and NSIAC to identify attendees and on the initiative as a whole. As this initiative continues, we will keep U.S. WIN members updated on any developments, opportunities or new initiatives that U.S. WIN takes on in this area.
If you have any questions or ideas for U.S. WIN with respect to DE&I, please contact Jhansi Kandasamy, [email protected].