UMass Boston

National Grid Partners with UMass Boston in Workforce Development and Scholarship Program to Increase Diversity of Labor Force

05/05/2023| Crystal Valencia

UMass Boston Awarded $100K for Scholarships for Engineering Students

(From left) Provost Joseph Berger; Stephen Woerner, president of National Grid New England; and Amanda Downey, vp of strategy development &
(From left) Provost Joseph Berger; Stephen Woerner, president of National Grid New England; and Amanda Downey, vp of strategy development & partnerships at National Grid.

“ We are grateful to have National Grid as an outstanding partner in this new initiative. ”

The University of Massachusetts Boston is partnering with National Grid as the company launches a wide-ranging strategic workforce development effort intended to provide individuals from historically underrepresented and marginalized communities career exposure, development, and employment opportunities. As part of the partnership, National Grid is providing $100,000 to UMass Boston for Clean Energy Scholars Scholarships, to be awarded to qualifying students pursuing engineering or craft- and trades-related degrees.

“We could not be more excited about our partnership with National Grid. As the most diverse university in New England and the third most diverse in the country - justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work is part of our DNA; it’s purposefully at the core of everything we do to educate our students and prepare them for successful livelihoods,” said Dr. Joseph Berger, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“And with over 80 percent of our students remaining in state, broadening local pathways for meaningful career opportunities is particularly important. We are grateful to have National Grid as an outstanding partner in this new initiative.” 

The long-term partnership is part of a plan to build the clean energy workforce of the future while ensuring that over the long haul, the workforce reflects the communities National Grid serves across Massachusetts.

A 2021 survey by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) showed that the U.S. energy sector had a below-average representation of Black, Hispanic, Latino, and women workers. National Grid is committed to doing its part in addressing this nationwide issue. In addition, the utility industry has an aging workforce, with roughly half of utility employees within ten years of retirement age. The goal of the Workforce Development strategy is to build a sustainable, systematic pipeline of diverse talent to lead the energy transition and enable that workforce to build and operate a net-zero system.

“National Grid is committed to delivering a safe, clean, fair, and affordable energy future, and having a diverse, inclusive workforce is a vital part of that vision,” said Stephen Woerner, president of National Grid, New England. “As we build our workforce, we seek to hire and retain diverse talent to ensure we meet the needs of our customers and communities. We want to provide career pathways for people in our communities. At National Grid, we know a workforce that represents people from different backgrounds and perspectives benefits the whole company and the communities we serve.”

National Grid’s workforce development program also features four academies that will support everyone from work-ready adults to STEM-oriented middle school students. Students at UMass Boston, along with Northeastern University and Franklin Cummings Tech, will participate in the Clean Energy Careers Academy, in which National Grid mentors and others engage students about the energy and utilities field, provide professional development opportunities, and create connections that can lead to future internships, co-ops, and full-time employment within National Grid. 

The Clean Energy Scholars Scholarship will support and encourage more students from historically underrepresented and marginalized communities to pursue and persist in obtaining engineering and craft- and trades-related degrees. Each college partner is receiving $100,000 in the first year of the partnership, with scholarship funds to continue for the duration of the partnership. Students can apply for the scholarship through their respective institutions. 

Read more about National Grid’s workforce development announcement on their website.