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Certification Program Aids Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Successes In The Solar Industry

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After a full year in the field, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) first-of-its-kind Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) Certification Program is making a measurable impact and helping clean energy businesses improve internal DEIJ practices.

Companies across the value chain are using the program’s 34 modules to set a new bar for DEIJ work in the clean energy sector. According to a new annual report chronicling the program’s impact from October 2021 to October 2022, 45 companies enrolled in the DEIJ Certification Program, with 19 organizations achieving Bronze certification, 2 achieving Silver and 1 company, RES Group, achieving Gold.

“If we want the solar workforce to keep pace with the clean energy boom around the corner, complacency is not an option,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “We cannot expect equity to grow organically, and the actions we take today will impact our ability to reach our goals in the Solar+ Decade. Tools like the DEIJ Certification Program are absolutely necessary to close the gap between talk and action, and we look forward to building on the successes of this important program.”

The annual report highlights areas that participating companies are focusing on as they progress in their DEIJ work. The program not only addresses internal aspects of DEIJ, but external as well, with more than 66% of the companies participating in the program indicating that they proactively and regularly advocate for environmental justice policies. Each of these companies reports working directly with organizations representing frontline communities.

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The report also shares data about the participating companies, which showcases the program’s ability to bring traditionally cost-prohibitive DEIJ services to businesses of all sizes. More than 75% of the companies participating in the program have fewer than 200 workers and 40% have fewer than 50 workers. Enrolled companies represent the entire solar value chain, from project developers, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms, manufacturers, financiers to nonprofit organizations.

The report provides in-depth data about the program modules that are most utilized and how companies are implementing or revising internal practices based on the modules they complete.

Empowering companies to look at their internal DEIJ practices is a core goal of the certification program. Every single company enrolled in the program reports having developed a written DEIJ communications plan and has made training available to their workforce.

“The solar and storage industry expects to generate more than $100 billion of annual investment by the end of the Solar+ Decade, and SEIA is laying the groundwork to ensure a diverse pool of stakeholders are uplifted by this wealth-building engine,” said Erika Symmonds, SEIA’s vice president of equity and workforce development.

SEIA is releasing several new program modules in 2023, including best practices for uplifting LGBTQ+ voices, offering inclusive health benefits, supporting apprenticeship programs, and creating inclusive spaces in the clean energy sector. Earlier in the year, SEIA released new modules about disability inclusion, mentorship and supporting military veterans in the workplace. Starting in Q1 2023, non-SEIA members will be able to enroll in the DEIJ Certification Program.

Download a copy of the DEIJ Certification Program Annual Report, learn more about the DEIJ Certification Program and enroll in the program today.

Courtesy of SEIA

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