Conversations with Corey: AT&T & Duke Energy on Increasing Representation

The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S., employing over 3 million Americans in 2019. At AT&T we are dedicated to creating opportunities to promote economic empowerment along with the goal to increase workforce representation. These are two ways we actively give back to our communities.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, people of color and women make up only 31% and 25% of the wind energy workforce, respectively. As the U.S. transitions to a more environmentally sustainable economy, female students and students of color should have equitable access to opportunities in the well-paying and rapidly expanding clean energy sector.

Earlier this year, AT&T collaborated with the Duke Energy Foundation to award scholarships to students interested in pursuing a career in wind turbine technology at the High Plains Technology Center in Oklahoma. This joint effort grew out of AT&T’s purchase of renewable energy from one of Duke Energy’s Oklahoma wind projects, bringing us closer to our goal of being carbon neutral across our operations by 2035. This was the first year that the AT&T Renewable Energy Scholarship program specifically benefitted diverse student populations at High Plains Technology Center, including women and people of color.

For this Conversations with Corey segment, I spoke with Duke Energy’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and chief of staff to the CEO, Joni Davis. In our discussion, we covered topics like our companies’ efforts to increase representation in STEM and renewable energy careers. Kristopher Tinoco, a High Plains Technology Center student and scholarship recipient, added his perspective and first-hand experience in the growing wind technology industry.

Additionally, in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., I spoke with Joni and Kristopher about the importance of strengthening career paths for Hispanic communities to provide greater economic empowerment opportunities. Kristopher, who is Latino, talked about his experience at High Plains and the importance of access to education.

I am hopeful this conversation on representation within renewable energy and economic empowerment for Latino communities will extend beyond Hispanic Heritage Month, because making STEM careers more accessible for more people requires an ongoing commitment, investment and collaboration from us all. Learn more about High Plains Technology Center’s Wind Training Program and about Duke Energy Foundation, and watch the full conversation with Joni and Kristopher below.