‘Prosperity Needs to Be Shared,’ Dem Says, As Energy Dep't Launches Minority Outreach

September 25, 2013 - 2:01 PM

Mary Landrieu

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said “prosperity needs to be shared” at an event on Tuesday at the Energy Department to promote opportunities for minorities in the energy sector.

“We seek greatness, goodness, excellence, hard work, usually wealth comes with that, not always. It’s not what we seek, but it’s what the result of our good work is – and prosperity for America. But that prosperity needs to be shared in a way that honors the talents and the strengths of the individuals that make up this great country,” Landrieu said at the event to launch the Minorities in Energy Initiative.

“We’ve got such a long way to go in terms of really using the talent in this community, in our community generally, to create wealth and opportunity – and wealth not as a means to itself but as a result of excellence and hard work, not as something we seek,” Landrieu said.

The Energy Department says its new "Minorities in Energy Initiative" will "strive to ensure that our energy workforce more fully reflects the diversity and strengths of the country." It says Hispanics, African Americans and American Indians make up 24 percent of the overall U.S. workforce, yet account for only 9 percent of the country’s science and engineering workforce, which are the fields that drive the energy sector.

“Beginning this month, the Minorities in Energy Initiative will coordinate a conversation to link together representatives from diverse community organizations, academia, business, and industry to provide their individual perspectives to address shared challenges in the areas of energy economic development, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and climate change.”

The event was launched in conjunction with DOE’s annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We’re going to need a lot more strong people, and we’re going to need to draw from our entire talent pool in this country,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said at the event.

“This isn’t just about opening doors for people that should have doors open for them – and some of us had to kick some of those doors down - but it’s really for America – to tap into the talent and brainpower that is out there,” Landrieu said.

“Diversity is mission-critical, to our agency and to our country,” said Dot Harris, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to be director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at DOE, in announcing the initiative on Sept. 11.

“Without diversity of people who actively engage in the energy economy, our nation will lack a diversity of thought, missing the right people at the table to address challenges, ask questions, and expand our knowledge in energy fields,” Harris said.