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Diversity In Action

National Grid offers stable jobs in many engineering areas

The company has a diversity legacy in the U.S.; now �the intent is to create a transparent environment of inclusion in the U.K. and the U.S.,� says a VP


Neddy Perez is VP of inclusion and diversity at National Grid.Even in uncertain economic times, job hunters can be assured that the utility sector is one of a handful of stable industries, says Neddy Perez, VP of inclusion and diversity at National Grid.

National Grid is among the top ten U.S. utilities whose core business is delivering electricity and natural gas. �We are committed to being an employer of choice,� Perez declares. �From the executive leadership level to the front lines of the field organization, the intent is to create an environment of inclusion that is transparent whether you work in the U.K. or the U.S.�

The company will fill seventy-five to a hundred engineering positions this year, notes Beverly Esposito, National Grid�s director of resourcing for the U.S. Henry Chiu, director of inclusion and diversity, adds that most Beverly Esposito serves as the company’s U.S. director of resourcing.employees stay at the company for years. Many are especially pleased that National Grid is an international operation with opportunities to move abroad.

Chiu says National Grid recently signed an agreement with the National Utilities Diversity Council and will partner with the group to launch a database of employment opportunities in the utility sector.

�We know there�s a great need to identify talented workforce professionals,� Chiu says. �Down the road we expect to develop a high-potential leadership academy, and pull together a list of utility industry chief diversity officers and collaborate with them. Then we can put together a diversity scorecard to benchmark against each other.�

Henry Chiu, inclusion and diversity: most employees stay for years. The company has also been taking a look at its human resources policies and processes, Perez notes. As part of its commitment to helping employees balance work and family concerns with the needs of the business, National Grid offers flexible work arrangements including flexible start times and telecommuting. To support employee development, National Grid has established a market-competitive tuition reimbursement policy.

In terms of benefits, National Grid offers a flexible spending account to offset needs like daycare. Onsite gyms are another useful perk. An employee assistance program can direct employees to community or professional resources to help with personal challenges or stresses.

For the past two years the company has scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign�s Corporate Equality Index of gay-friendly companies. In the U.K. the company made the Stonewall list. The utility earned its high ratings by providing partner benefits for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) partners. In the company�s HQ state of Massachusetts these couples can marry, and automatically become eligible for spousal benefits.

Formal inclusion and diversity efforts have been in place for at least five years, and within the last year the utility has expanded the effort and added personnel in the area. �There�s been a legacy of focusing on diversity in the past,� Chiu says. �As a global company our focus has expanded to encompass inclusion.�

National Grid has diversity networks for women, African Americans, Asians, GLBT employees, Hispanics and multi-ethnic cultures. Now it�s launching one for people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, Perez notes. �As part of our efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, we�ve established partnerships with the National Business Disability Council and with Native American and military veterans� groups. We believe there are tons of opportunities here.�

There are certainly plenty of opportunities for degreed engineers, Esposito adds; some of the positions require only an associate�s degree. �Our basic fields are gas and electric transmission and distribution. We also have an active energy-efficiency program and we�re working on green initiatives,� she explains.

Right now substation maintenance and power engineering are the big needs in Massachusetts, and the company is looking for electric and power engineers, gas services and QA analysts, and EEs, CEs and MEs.

One way into National Grid is through an internship, according to Esposito. �It�s nice to have but not essential,� she says

�For example, we have a good graduate rotation program in our generation area on Long Island, NY, and we recently started one for our gas program. We just hired about twenty-five grads into our program, all diverse candidates,� she notes.

National Grid attends career fairs: thirty-five last year. The company posts jobs on vets� websites, military.com and more, and works through the Association of Blacks in Energy, SHPE and many other organizations.

The company recently launched a global diversity action council transition team to bring its U.S. and U.K. action councils together, Perez says. The team is focusing on training and development for managers: topics like cross-cultural relational management and management of global or virtual teams.

There are plenty of ways for employees to get involved with their communities, like working with high school students on urban development and environmental studies, getting involved with Junior Achievement, assisting with science programs and supporting United Way. National Grid recently hired a director of volunteerism.

�Our employees give well over a million dollars of their own money in community support,� Perez notes. �Some of our executives are known in the local community for making personal financial commitments to organizations. Our employees are also directly involved in groups like Junior Achievement, Inroads, and more.

�We are part of the community,� Perez concludes. �We have a dedication and commitment to the community. We don�t just buy tables at a fundraising luncheon or dinner. Our commitment is about developing and funding programs that will have a real impact and bring about meaningful change.�

D/C





National Grid

www.nationalgridus.com

Headquarters: Westborough, MA
Employees: 17,770
Revenues: $8.2 billion in the U.S. in 2006; $16.6 billion globally
Business: Electricity and natural gas delivery

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