"While unconscious bias may be an inherent element of human nature, all individuals have the opportunity for growth. Recognizing how we contribute to social stereotypes and actively engaging in the appropriate actions to address and change these behaviors is what matters most."
We the people of AEI are a unique and diverse group of individuals with varying cultural, ethical, and socioeconomic experiences. We strive to collectively build better collaborations and outcomes. Through inclusion across all ages, genders, orientations, races, religions, regions, national origins, and viewpoints, our work and interactions become more impactful and valuable — we are better together.
AEI’s GROW Program: Greater Recognition of We
Partnering with external consultants, AEI drives new opportunities and strengthens existing relationships by accelerating diversity, equity, and inclusion and creating educational roadmaps that help guide future organizational change under AEI’s Greater Recognition of We (GROW) program.
To GROW is natural; it occurs by increasing size and changing physically, progressing to maturity. Throughout our lives and careers, it is natural to want and expect growth. To GROW requires action. As individuals, we want to GROW our knowledge, leadership, and relationships in many ways. AEI’s desire is to GROW recognition, market share, and profitability through increasing innovation and thought leadership — positively impacting our communities and society.
Through GROW, individuals learn from others' experiences and worldviews, opening minds to new and different perspectives that serve to inspire and broaden AEI’s vision of improving the world. By acknowledging world advancements and embracing impartiality and acceptance, we put ourselves on a path to becoming better individuals in a better organization.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: An Action Plan
AEI's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion includes three pillars:
- Equitable Recruiting
- Responsible Interactions
- Diverse Industry Partnerships
We believe that a diverse workforce — one that is constituted by individuals of different national origins, native languages, race, color, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, family structure, veteran status, and life experiences — brings our clients the best consulting engineering outcomes and a valuable learning environment for employees. We are deliberate in addressing diversity in all hiring practices, human resources policies, and project teams assembled.
AEI is dedicated to equity in the workplace by fostering an inclusive environment that supports staff and provides them with resources to yield fairness and equality across all professional experiences.
AEI's recruiting includes outreach to a variety of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), specific minority professional programs such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce (AIESEC), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). We are tracking gender and race statistics through our internal systems both firmwide and by each office to understand our employee community picture and raise awareness about diversity in our hiring practices. We have adopted a series of measures including expansion of our employee interview teams to gain the broadest perspectives of candidates applying to AEI.
AEI’s GROW program is the internal component of our commitment to responsible interactions with each other. Through a series of company-wide DEI speaker presentations as part of the GROW program, we are engaging in critical conversations about inclusive communication and the role privilege plays in the workplace. Additionally, AEI implements training for all employees in three fundamental areas of professional accountability:
- Preventing Harassment & Discrimination
- Fostering Diversity & Inclusion
- Managing Bias
To promote responsibility-in-action and community outreach, AEI allocates paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to every employee, every year. With VTO, our offices often choose to rally behind and support organizations making positive contributions to charities in our local communities.
Additionally, AEI has a firmwide commitment to the ACE Mentor Program of America — providing monetary support paired with mentorship activities serving largely minority students in each of our 19 regional offices. AEI's responsibility extends abroad to support Engineers Without Borders and its many chapters, including collaboration efforts with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to provide energy security — through solar panels and microgrids — and strengthen community resiliency throughout Puerto Rico.
Diverse Industry Partnerships
AEI supports partnerships with small business entities (SBE), locally-owned business entities (LBE), and women-owned business entities (WBE) — collectively referred to as xBE firms — on many project execution plans in order to cross-pollinate our national experience with regional and local perspectives. This helps expand our vision for delivering work, propelling collective creativity, and improving engineering outcomes.
We also partner with diverse suppliers associated with our internal office operations — providing opportunities for establishing new relationships while holding existing suppliers' commitments accountable to local and minority small businesses.