DEI is not an entirely new concept to SPE. DEI programs and initiatives were established early on by the SPE Foundation. The Foundation’s mission, which supports the development of plastics professionals by funding educational programs, grants and scholarships that emphasize science, engineering, sustainability, and manufacturing, is also focused on providing inclusive opportunities for students around the world.
“Our work in the Foundation is to showcase opportunities to students aged 8 to 18 through educational programs,” said Eve Vitale, SPE Foundation’s Chief Executive. “But our programs aren’t just focused on engineering and polymer science. We take a holistic approach that is aimed at building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce for all individuals in the whole plastics industry value chain.”
Patrick Farrey, SPE’s CEO, agrees that the Foundation’s work to create inclusive opportunities has been integral to SPE.
“SPE must be supportive of all individuals to thrive,” said Farrey. “Not only is this what today’s young professionals expect, it is absolutely the right thing to do. With the Foundation’s educational programs and DEI initiatives, exposing people at a younger age to different cultures and/or different orientations, helps to prepare everyone to be better, global citizens.”