Leading the way in Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The mission of Encore’s Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JDEI) working group is to develop and strengthen our company’s policies, methods and processes to ensure that we operate and grow in alignment with our core values and commitment to social and environmental justice. We are committed to a safe and inclusive workplace where team members can be their authentic selves. This work is ongoing and includes identifying opportunities for internal learning and development, and fostering and strengthening both new and existing partnerships with an emphasis on promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
We are committed to building the clean energy economy – but using our business to make the world a better place gives our work its meaning.
Our work at Encore
Industry leader in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice
Encore is one of a handful of companies to currently hold a silver-level SEIA DEIJ Certification.
In 2021, the Solar Energy Industry Associations launched a first of its kind online certification program designed by Diversity Certified Professionals that uses evidence-based approaches to improve diversity practices within companies. Since that time, our team has worked through a broad range of modules in order to create a more inclusive work environment, better serve the communities we work in, and attract, hire, promote, and retain diverse talent. As we’ve worked through the curriculum, we were one of the first companies to earn a bronze certification back in January 2022. We gained our silver certification in June 2023.
Since that time we’ve continued to work through additional modules and make improvements to company operations.
- Launching 3 Employee Resources Groups to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the communities in which we work.
- Expanding our parental leave policy which now includes 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, regardless of the parents’ gender, including both adoption and birth, with flexibility to schedule leave during the child’s first year to accomodate their needs.
- Improving internal communications by implementing a quarterly internal newsletter to increase company-wide engagement with our justice, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
- Establishing formal policies for remote work and bereavement leave
We will continue to seek input and advice on how to become a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
Our work with partners and communities
Supporting a diverse clean energy workforce
The solar industry workforce is growing fast, and we’re committed to doing what we can to increase diversity and equity within the field. Learn more about our initiatives below:
In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in June of 2020, Devin Hampton, the CEO of UtilityAPI, spoke up loud and clear, and he challenged the climate tech sector to take action to move diversity and inclusion forward. His colleague and friend, Jason Michaels, CCO of Leap, joined him, and EDICT was created. A few months later, in the fall of 2020, the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) was invited to partner with Elemental Excelerator (EEx) and FutureMap to launch the EDICT (Empowering Diverse Climate Talent) Internship Program.
Launched in 2021, EDICT matches employers, who take the EDICT Pledge, with summer interns to support the skills and network development of rising leaders from traditionally excluded groups and to empower climate organizations in creating inclusive cultures. The EDICT Pledge calls on companies to commit to six areas: pushing for inclusion of diverse voices at conferences and industry events, interviewing diverse candidates for every job opening and mentoring them on a path towards success, having uncomfortable conversations needed to support the careers of diverse people within organizations, searching out diverse mid-career and senior hires from other industries, hiring paid interns from diverse backgrounds, and using data and transparency to hold themselves accountable.
Vermont Works for Women’s Trailblazers is a training program to support the entry and success of women and gender non-conforming individuals in careers in construction and the trades. Participants in the program have the opportunity to obtain or increase skills and certifications for jobs that are in high demand. Amber Lessard has been involved with the program for years, offering her expertise as a licensed electrician and experienced construction and project manager to empowering the next generation of women and gender expansive solar installers. Read Amber’s Interview with The Moxy Voice.
Encore is also proud to sponsor VWW’s annual Women Can Do Expo. This event informs young folks who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM about technical career opportunities. Many of these jobs are in high demand as Vermont transitions to a cleaner economy, and the Women Can Do conference is a great example of a way to advance inclusivity in this transition.
Our goal is to encourage employees to be their best in all facets of their lives. To show our support for employees’ civic engagement, we offer a paid volunteering day every quarter. Our team members have offered over 450 hours of their time to community service since 2021.
Supporting a healthy democracy
There’s a significant gap between the population of adults who are registered to vote and those who actually cast their ballot. We’re committed to empowering our employees to participate in our democracy.
One of the most common reasons employees give for not making it to the polls is conflicting work schedules. That’s why election day is always an Encore company holiday. We joined the Time to Vote initiative, along with thousands of other companies, committing to removing the obstacle that prevents so many from fully exercising their democratic rights.
Our work in action
In February, the students from Burlington City & Lake (BCL) Semester program at Burlington High School had a residency at Hula Lakeside to meet with businesses focused on climate justice. Kelsey Applegate and Taegen Kopfler, alongside Abi Gruvman from 350.org, sat down with the students and their teachers to talk about their work and hear…
On October 6th, Kelsey Applegate and Taegen Kopfler represented Encore Renewable Energy as exhibitors at the Women Can Do annual conference organized by Vermont Works for Women. The Women Can Do conference is a career exploration event for high school girls and gender expansive youth, held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT. Encore had…
Amber Lessard, Encore’s Director of Asset Management and Construction, spoke with NBC5 recently about the importance of organizations like Vermont Works for Women and her involvement in their Trailblazer program.