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Whitman appointed to DOE’s Minorities in Energy Initiative

Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman has been named as an ambassador for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative, which aims to increase the participation of minority communities in businesses and careers in science and technology fields related to energy and climate change.

The Minority in Energy Initiative’s Ambassadors Program selects key leaders in industry, government, academia and non-profits into communities who will work with the DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity to inform and inspire the public about the critical need for more minority participation in these fields.  See http://energy.gov/diversity/services/minorities-energy-initiative/ambassadors-minorities-energy-initiative for more information.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said the U.S. will need to draw on a large pool of talent as energy technologies develop to address climate change. “We are talking about a multi-trillion dollar business issue globally as we evolve today’s energy technologies,” he said when the program was launched on Sept. 24. “We’ve got to be on the train if we want to lead that technology revolution and to do so we’re going to need an awful lot of talent.”

Women and minorities have been vastly underrepresented in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. While Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans represent 24 percent of the overall workforce, they make up only 9 percent of the U.S. science and engineering workforce, according to the Initiative website.

The ambassadors will travel to high schools and minority communities to encourage more participation in STEM and energy-related fields among young people, entrepreneurs and business people. They will also be involved in a yearly recognition awards program recognizing minority leaders in the energy field, particularly young people.

The program is based on a similar international program for women as part of the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative launched by the DOE and MIT in 2012, which also has ambassadors who aim to recruit, retain and advance women in clean energy fields and who select award recipients. See  http://energy.gov/articles/us-department-energy-and-mit-energy-initiative-announce-women-clean-energy-program-united for more information.

Whitman was among 22 people appointed as Minorities in Energy Initiative Ambassadors in a group that includes Nina Davuluri, the 2014 Miss America; as well as former Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and numerous business and non-profit leaders.

Whitman was governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001 and left her position to become administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003. She has since served as president of the Whitman Strategy Consulting Group, a consulting firm specializing in energy and environmental solutions for businesses.  She was named co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, an organization that promotes nuclear energy, in 2006. She is co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council, which she founded with former Senator John Danforth, and author of the 2005 book, “It’s My Party Too.”

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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