For Immediate Release
202-872-2680 (media hotline)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 28, 2021) – Pepco, in collaboration with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), is expanding its efforts to advance equity, inclusion, economic opportunity and social justice in the District of Columbia in alignment with the District's inclusive equity objectives. This partnership with WIN to support higher wages, provide career opportunities for more District of Columbia residents, grow local and diverse businesses and build a clean, sustainable, affordable and resilient energy future for all Washingtonians is a natural extension of Pepco's long-standing core values and role as a major employer, critical infrastructure provider and committed community partner.
"This enhanced partnership with WIN is a tremendous achievement, and supports efforts in building a resilient and equitable economy that provides all residents with more opportunity and continues to position the District as a leader in driving an innovative, inclusive and sustainable energy future," said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. "We thank WIN for working with us to develop and support these action-oriented measures. These actions supporting Mayor Bowser's commitment to providing opportunities for all District residents, and achieving the goal of being the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation."
As part of the commitment, Pepco and WIN will support the establishment of an initial minimum wage for any work in the District that requires a "street opening permit" to be set at $20 per hour with an increase to $22 per hour within one to two years. This includes underground work such as electric, natural gas, water, telecommunications or other utility infrastructure. Additionally, beginning in 2021, with recruiting support from WIN and the Department of Employment services, among others, Pepco will expand its support of the DC Infrastructure Academy by enrolling 100 to 120 students per year in the Pepco Utility Training School at the Academy, with every successful graduate being offered a job at Pepco or one of its participating Contractors of Choice.
"We are proud to partner with Pepco to increase access to good job opportunities in some of the wards with the highest unemployment rates in the District by increasing its local hiring through the DC Infrastructure Academy," says Rev. Lionel Edmonds, Co-Founder of WIN. "This agreement serves as a nationwide and even global example for what corporate accountability looks like when communities organize to put their interests in racial equity and economic justice on the table."
In 2018, Mayor Muriel Bowser opened the DC Infrastructure Academy, a partnership between DC Government and utility, union, university and private sector partners to provide a pipeline to in-demand infrastructure jobs, and a pathway to the middle class for many District residents. Pepco, and its parent company Exelon, are founding partners of the DCIA, contributing $5.2 million in support of its launch. The DCIA provides a vehicle for Pepco to be meaningfully involved in connecting residents to employment opportunities and careers in the energy sector. Since the inaugural cohort, more than 50 District residents have graduated from the program. Unlike other training programs, every student that graduates from the Pepco program is guaranteed a job offer.
"Mayor Bowser has challenged us to be creative and bold so that more District residents have a fair shot at pathways to the middle class," said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. "We are pleased that the Washington Interfaith Network and Pepco are forging an ironclad partnership that will help us meet that challenge. This new collaboration builds upon our work individually with WIN and Pepco to expand equity by creating affordable housing and jobs."
This effort by Pepco and WIN will help strengthen the District's utility workforce and will expand opportunities for local companies by creating a robust pipeline of talent from the local community. These efforts complement several other Pepco programs that focus on developing the energy workforce of tomorrow, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and programs that will support its efforts to build a smarter, stronger and cleaner energy grid.
"This partnership showcases a model for other District-based companies and community organizations to collaborate and support the greater good fostering innovative efforts that will address systemic racial barriers, and provide economic opportunities, for our local businesses and residents," said Sharon Pinder president and CEO, Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council. "We commend Pepco and WIN for this effort and for their continued commitment to advancing minority-owned business across the District."
Pepco, as a major employer, dedicated community partner and provider of energy service in the District for well over a century, is committed to advancing the social vibrancy, equity, and long-term economic and environmental health of the communities it serves. The company employs more than 1,500 people and contributes more than $2 million annually to local community and nonprofit organizations, including more than $1.5 million in additional funding to support COVID-19 relief and related efforts in 2020.
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