AEP named among Great Places To Work In ESSENCE 2003 Career Guide

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 14, 2003 - American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is among 17 Fortune 1000 companies listed as “Great Places to Work” in the 2003 Career Guide included in the May 2003 issue of ESSENCE, a monthly magazine for African-American women. ESSENCE has more than 8 million readers nationwide.

The ESSENCE Career Guide is the result of a survey conducted last year in partnership with J. Howard & Associates, a human resources firm in Boston. More than 100 firms “that have earned the distinction of being good employers for African-Americans and/or women” were asked to participate, according to the ESSENCE article which accompanies the Guide.

“The most progressive corporate leaders realize that diversity is strength - and they are making inclusion a company mandate,” says author Veronica Byrd in the article titled “17 Fortune 1000 Companies Where Sisters Are Finding Success.”

Companies were examined for their formal diversity initiatives, hiring and promotional practices, mentoring programs, leadership training, work-life programs, pay treatment, financial support of organizations relative to women and minorities, and their efforts to do business with female- and/or minority-owned businesses. They were also questioned about their corporate culture and work attire.

Each company was rated on its policies and practices related to 11 key areas of diversity and employee development. AEP was rated “very good” in three areas: Organizational Commitment to Diversity, Acceptance and Respect for Diverse Styles and Supplier Relationships.

“While there are still areas where we can improve, I believe this type of recognition shows we are on the right track with our diversity initiatives,” said Melinda Ackerman, senior vice president - Human Resources. “We believe, as our diversity campaign slogan ‘Everyone Counts’ indicates, those programs that attract a diverse workforce benefit all employees, not just minorities and females.”

In early 2002, AEP adopted a number of measures designed to increase diversity awareness, improve diversity management skills and build on the strengths of a diverse workforce including diversity education programs for all employees and promoting work/life programs and policies such as dependent care assistance, financial planning, wellness programs, educational assistance and other programs that support a diverse workforce.

The company also implemented a new process for considering a diverse slate of candidates for all job openings, increased its diversity recruiting efforts, and implemented programs to utilize female and minority-owned vendors.

This is not the first time AEP has been recognized as a good place to work. Last year, the company was named among the "Best Companies for Working Mothers."

The other 16 companies making the ESSENCE list included: American Family Life Assurance Co. (AFLAC), Allstate Insurance Co., American Airlines, BP America Inc., Citigroup, Fannie Mae, FleetBoston Financial, Freddie Mac, Genentech Inc., Intel Corp., IBM, Merck & Co., Morgan Stanley, New York Life Insurance Co., Prudential Financial Inc. and Wachovia Corp.

American Electric Power owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and select international markets and is the largest electricity generator in the U.S. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with almost 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.

Melissa McHenry
Manager, Corporate Media Relations
American Electric Power