INL sign

In the midst of controversy over diversity programs at Idaho’s universities, two of Idaho National Laboratory’s top executives this week reaffirmed their support for diversity, writes Post Register reporter Nathan Brown.

“INL is an innovative research laboratory tasked with helping resolve this nation’s big energy and security challenges,” lab Director Mark Peters said in a statement to the Post Register. “Our employees come from roughly 130 countries. I can tell you that without question, a diverse group, working together, is the best tool we have to ensure a prosperous and secure future. At INL, we don’t just value inclusive diversity, we need it. It’s the same with our communities, which are enriched when everyone feels at home and free to be their best selves.”

INL has sometimes struggled to attract young people, many of them with highly specific and in-demand skills, to work in eastern Idaho, and lab officials have talked repeatedly in public forums and interviews about the importance of recruiting a diverse workforce. Juan Alvarez, INL’s chief operating officer and deputy laboratory director for management and operations, said diversity and inclusion are important to recruiting talented young people to work at INL.

“If our community is not welcoming and inclusive, these talented young people will go elsewhere,” Alvarez said. “We want those who come to our state, laboratory, and community to spread the word about the great science conducted at INL. We want them to tell their friends, neighbors and family members that our community is a wonderful place to live, no matter what church you attend (or don’t attend), the color of your skin, sexual orientation, country of origin, age, gender, or disability.”

You can read Brown's full story here, or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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