Diversity at AEP
We value and celebrate diversity at AEP and in the communities where we live, work and operate. To us, diversity involves ethnicity, gender, age, and other demographic factors. We value a diversity of perspectives and experiences, skills, ideas, culture and opinions, all of which make the company and the community stronger. Our board of directors, executive council team and regional utility presidents includes seven women, two African Americans and three Hispanics. Women make up 22 percent and minorities 16 percent of this group.
Being diverse within the upper ranks of the company helps us gain a broader perspective on business issues, allowing us to make more informed and better decisions. It also sets an example for more diversity within our work force and in our communities.
We work on becoming more diverse from the boardroom to the front line. We track the advancement of females and minorities from front-line craft-level positions to executive posts. In addition, we consider diversity in every hiring decision and try to provide a diverse slate of candidates to hiring managers for review and consideration.
AEP created a diversity and inclusion online training module for all employees. The course provides information on the business case for diversity and demonstrates how to respond effectively to differences, and increase the level of inclusion in the work place.
In order to meet our diversity goals, AEP will need to change the way in which minority prospective employees view AEP. We want to be seen as a progressive company that offers rewarding career paths to all of our promising new hires.
The following charts provide a comparative look at progress made from the prior year. There was positive movement in both job group categories for both females and minorities.
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.
Employee Resource Groups
Employee resource groups (ERGs) 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. Our ERGs are the Asian American Employee Partnership, Hispanic Origin-Latin American (HOLA) Employee Resource Group, African American Employee Resource Group, Military Veterans Employee Resource Group, and AEP Pride Partnership (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and their colleagues). The Pride Partnership created an Ally program in 2014 that enables all employees and contractors to actively demonstrate support for their LGBT coworkers.
Employee resource groups give voice to the diversity of our work force and support AEP’s values and goals.
The ERGs are open to any employee who is connected to or interested in learning more about diversity at AEP. These groups sponsor programs and events focused on culture, education and personal and professional development. They are also active community volunteers supporting efforts such as Project Mentor and Make a Difference Day.
Workplace diversity is an important social issue for all companies. Recognizing the evolving diversity of our work force and the global economy within which we operate, AEP has changed policies, benefits, training and other resources to be more inclusive. In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, requiring companies to recognize same-sex marriages for certain benefits, such as pension and the 401(k) savings plan. Although AEP is not required to recognize same-sex marriages for health and welfare benefits, such as medical and life insurance, we choose to do so.
If the state in which the marriage takes place allows same-sex marriages to be performed, the marriage will be recognized for all company benefits, regardless of the state of the employee’s or retiree’s residence. Same-sex marriage benefits went into effect July 1, 2014 and include medical, dental, vision, accidental death and dismemberment, life insurance, pension, 401 (k) savings plan, among others.
Also, in both 2014 and 2015 AEP scored 80 out of 100 in the annual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. This index has become a benchmarking tool for large U.S. companies in terms of measuring the fair, nondiscriminatory treatment of LGBT employees in the workplace. The AEP Pride Partnership group worked with the Office of Diversity to improve the company’s HRC rating over the years.