Valuing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in Our Work
UMass Clean Energy Extension (CEE) joins the University’s historic mission as a Land Grant College to provide outreach and extension to the Commonwealth. No longer limited to agriculture, the mission of UMass Extension extends to human health, social justice, and environmental well-being. In keeping with this mission, CEE serves as a resource to reduce market barriers and accelerate the adoption of clean energy into the Massachusetts economy.
CEE is committed to the following operating principles in all of its activities:
- Collaboration: Working collaboratively with the UMass community and Massachusetts state and local officials, agencies, institutions, and businesses to help meet our shared climate-related, energy, and education goals.
- Service: Providing professional clean energy services, education, outreach, research, and workforce development for the public good of the Commonwealth.
- Integrity: Conducting our work and relationships with honesty, academic rigor, objectivity, inclusiveness, continuous learning, fiscal responsibility, and a cooperative and joyful spirit.
In keeping with our mission, we invite, embrace, and celebrate differences across race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, gender identity, ability, socio-economic status, and life experience. We believe that a diversity of perspectives brings richness to our work and improves our processes and the outcomes of our work. These principles are at the core of our commitment to foster a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) within our organization and throughout our programs, interactions, and relationships.
Our Approach to Equity
We are committed to serving our stakeholders fairly and with respect. In practice, this means that we seek to listen deeply to each person’s perspective, strive to understand and value people as individuals, and respond to everyone’s particular needs, hopes, and dreams. We also recognize and value that every person has a unique experience, history, culture, and identity that informs their perspective. We continually seek to ensure that our values are consistent and integral with everything we do and the way we do it, and we are currently integrating DEIJ into our work in the following specific areas:
- Training and Facilitation: CEE staff have participated in race training and dialogue practices through the Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU) program, seeded by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy in 2016. CTRU has a vision to grow a community of Extension professionals well prepared to foster meaningful community conversations around race, leading to positive change. Dialogues are vital to understanding, and understanding is vital to healing and to creating enduring change. CEE staff continue to participate and facilitate dialogues within the UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment and across UMass Amherst Extension programs.
- Offshore Wind Career Access Scholarship: Through its Offshore Wind Career Access Scholarship program, CEE is proud to provide several full-tuition scholarships for CEE’s Offshore Wind Professional Certificate program. The scholarship value is approximately $6,000, which covers the full cost of the Certificate’s three courses. Scholarships enable students from diverse backgrounds to successfully prepare for and join the offshore wind industry. In addition to tuition support, recipients receive (1) professional development and networking support; (2) direct, person-to-person introductions to hiring offshore wind companies and organizations; and (3) a non-curriculum stipend to help address specific personal and professional barriers on an as-needed basis.
- Municipal Services: In CEE’s Municipal Services Program, we are actively seeking to diversify the communities we work with, from providing services in regions across the state to working with municipalities with diverse populations and socioeconomic statuses, including those from Environmental Justice Communities and Gateway Cities (as defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts).
- Eureka! at UMass Amherst: Since 2016, staff from CEE have participated as instructors with the Eureka! at UMass Amherst program. Eureka! is an innovative 5-year program that addresses the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Eureka! at UMass Amherst is a partnership between UMass Amherst and Girls Inc. of the Valley, launched in 2013 with the long-term goal of motivating girls to pursue post-secondary education and careers in STEM fields.
- Cooler Communities Partnership: CEE is partnered with the Cooler Communities school grant program, which provides student-centered K-12 classroom and community event programming that addresses climate change, energy use and conservation. As Cooler Communities expands its reach, it is targeting the state’s Environmental Justice Communities and Gateway Cities.
Our Work Ahead
While we have much more to do to advance DEIJ in our work, we’re committed to moving our organization and the Commonwealth toward a clean energy future that equitably distributes the benefits of a clean environment and prosperous economy. We believe that there is no better way forward.
We invite feedback and input from our stakeholders to ensure that our values are consistent and integral with what we do and the way we do it. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or feedback.