Insights > Entergy Nuclear Manager Using Skills to Foster Workforce Development, Diversity and Inclusion
Entergy Nuclear Manager Using Skills to Foster Workforce Development, Diversity and Inclusion
Entergy Nuclear's Betina Bolin Brandon is making a difference by helping change the face of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, in Mississippi, and especially in the communities where our nuclear plants and headquarters operate.
Her role as manager of diversity and workforce development was created nearly two years ago as a way to increase diversity in STEM workers in our plants and across the fleet. In this position, Brandon is tasked with providing strategic direction and thought leadership as well as championing the development of best practices, programs and initiatives fostering workforce development, diversity and an inclusive work environment. As a seasoned practitioner in education, she knew firsthand of the gaps that needed to be filled in the workplace, particularly in the areas of STEM.
"I spent 20 years as an educator preparing students for the workforce," she said. "This role with Entergy Nuclear piqued my interest because it allows me the opportunity to sit on the other side where students actually enter the workforce. Helping them get ready to enter the job market is a highlight of my career."
Brandon was born and reared in Roxie, Mississippi, a small town outside of Natchez. She attended Alcorn State University where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education. Following graduation, she taught for five years before holding varying leadership roles in K-12 to postsecondary in Texas and Mississippi. She worked to implement educational best practices, standards-based curriculum alignment, professional development, support of low-performing students and schools and fiscal management. Other examples of her work include expanding nuclear's summer internship program, adding test prep courses to help members of communities become eligible for jobs in nuclear plants and influencing college curricula to better align with the skills needed of future employees.
During her tenure at Entergy, Brandon has established a sustainable framework for developing the workforce and diversifying the workplace through university partnerships with historically black colleges and universities like Southern University, Alcorn State and Jackson State, as well as school districts, community partnerships, external partners and government agencies.
Brandon credits her love for people as the driving force that allows her to go out into the community to educate students and faculty on the importance of obtaining the education and skills needed to thrive in STEM careers.
"A person's zip code should not determine their destiny in life," Brandon added. "Being a champion for workforce development and diversity means that I'm paving the way for many generations after me. When we develop a workforce that looks like the communities we support and serve, we improve hiring results, increase employee engagement and enhance innovation. I enjoy watching hearts and actions change in the workplace. I'm fueled by seeing the positive changes that we are making as a fleet."
Brandon’s work with diversity, inclusion and belonging parallels that of Entergy’s vision, which is to “power life” with a diverse, inclusive and engaged culture. It inspires all individuals to work together to grow a world-class energy business that creates sustainable value.
"Our experience from workforce development partners in Mississippi led us to create this unique role for Betina. She wears a lot of hats; there are days in which she's a strategist in the morning, a mentor for interns
at lunch and a project manager in the afternoon," said John Wheeler, nuclear human resources senior manager. "From attending city council meetings to meeting with college presidents and deans, she is serving as an ambassador for our community stakeholders."
Entergy Nuclear is launching its first faculty externship program this summer. Faculty from four historically black colleges and universities will work and conduct research in some of the fleet's nuclear plants. This effort provides an opportunity for faculty to learn through direct experiences related to their areas of instruction and bring applicable relevance to student learning. They will work alongside Entergy’s nuclear professionals and give them the chance to learn more about the numerous merits of nuclear energy.
Brandon shares two college-aged sons with her husband of 21 years. One son is following in her footsteps at Alcorn State while the other attends Mississippi State – both STEM majors.
Brandon speaking at Grand Gulf Station's Administrative Professional’s Day.