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November 05
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Diversity In Action

Alliant Energy Corp is serious in its search for diversity

This Midwestern utility is part of Iowa's drive to recruit diversity. A talent management program offers job rotations and other opportunities


Alliant's Jeanne Myers: "Affinity groups help us tremendously in recruiting."

Alliant's Jeanne Myers: "Affinity groups help us tremendously in recruiting.

The focused diversity recruiting approach of Alliant Energy requires that 25 to 50 percent of the candidate pool for all managerial and most salaried jobs must be ethnic minorities, says Jeanne Myers, director of strategic employment and compliance.

True, Alliant Energy's midwest location presents a challenge in reaching that hiring goal, but the company is committed. "We bring in a lot of candidates that are transitioning out of the military. And we use additional tools like an outstanding internship program to promote diversity," Myers says.

Alliant Energy was created in 1998 from a three-way merger of WPL Holdings, IES Industries and Interstate Power Co. It's a regulated utility with about 1.4 million residential and commercial customers, providing electric service in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

Besides its Madison, WI HQ, the company has general offices in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, IA, plus many utility field locations. It also runs a nonregulated environmental company in Madison, WI, a transportation company in Cedar Rapids, IA, and various international operations.

Alliant Energy has a number of programs to support its diverse employees. To start, all new employees have diversity sensitivity training as part of their orientation.

There are two affinity groups, the Minority Business Council (MBC) and a women's network. "These groups help us tremendously in recruiting," Myers says.

The MBC has members throughout the company's territory with meetings held by phone conference. The women's network also supports female employees in outlying areas.

Alliant Energy is part of Iowa's statewide efforts to recruit and create hospitable climates for minority candidates in the technical field. The company is a platinum-level member of the Iowa Careers Consortium, and Myers serves on a national diversity council. Alliant Energy is also a member of Diversity Focus, a brand-new initiative supported by several companies in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor. The aim is to create diversity awareness in the area.

The company has a mentoring program and various forms of in-house training, including a talent management program which offers job rotations and other development opportunities for high-potential employees. Engineers might want to try rotations in plant management, energy delivery or the technical and integrated services group, Myers explains. This program is for everybody, but managers keep a special eye out for talented women and minorities.

Or, "If they prefer to stay within their present technical area, we may offer classes or special projects," Myers adds.

Employees are encouraged to do volunteer work. Many participate in United Way's "Day of Caring" by helping one of its agencies. This year fifty employees worked on fixing up a YMCA camp.

The company also provides a matching gift program through its charitable foundation to recognize and reward involvement and contributions by current employees and retirees of Alliant Energy and its family of companies.

Flex time is available in some areas of the company and there's a health and wellness program to promote physical and mental fitness.

A robust intern program helps diversity recruitment, Myers says. The company recruits at local universities, looking to on-campus SHPE, SWE and NSBE chapters for help. The same 25 to 50 percent diversity requirement applies to interns as it does to full-time employees, Myers concludes.



Headquarters: Madison, WI
Employees: 6,000
Revenues: $2.9 billion in 2004
Business: Electric and natural gas services


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