Best Economic Opportunity and Empowerment Program Finalists

Entergy Corporation

Ensuring that struggling customers receive bill payment assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a long-standing component of Entergy’s poverty-relief efforts that gained momentum during the pandemic. COVID-19 disproportionately impacted low-wage workers and thrusted an estimated 8 million additional households into poverty.  

While Congress increased LIHEAP funding, 48 percent of Entergy’s income-qualifying customers were unaware of the program. In response, Entergy’s LIHEAP Task Force set an ambitious goal to increase payments across Entergy’s four-state service area by 20 percent. Among others, a key effort involved the development of an automation bot that proactively contacts potentially eligible customers. Entergy successfully connected with approximately 1 million low-income households. More than 250,000 bills were paid with $65.4 million in assistance, exceeding the goal by almost $20 million and increasing bill payments by 26 percent over 2019.

ID4A Technologies

Leading at the forefront of industrial automation and manufacturing technology, ID4A’s cutting-edge innovations are accelerating processes and increasing efficiency, accuracy, productivity, scalability, and flexibility across the entire manufacturing cycle. ID4A’s Economic Opportunity and Empowerment Program focuses on up-skilling industrial workers to manage workflows, accomplish tasks more efficiently, and thrive in a machine-augmented future while being provided with decent jobs, secure and safe work environments, and equitable employment opportunities for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Through ID4A’s program, 285,806 people gained employment in industrial sectors, including 64,996 individuals of minority groups. More than 92,000 women were provided steady jobs, 2,764 women were trained for leadership roles, and 914,521 people were provided work in improved, safe, and secure environments. Additionally, 1,653,513 people were saved from exploitative jobs, among which 426,773 are women and girls who were victims of trafficking and child labor.

TD Ameritrade

In partnership with 4-H, TD Ameritrade created Smart Cents – a program that provides equitable access to financial empowerment resources, mentors, and hands-on learning for underserved young people across the country. The program helps young people make sound financial decisions that will help them accumulate wealth, unlock opportunities, and achieve economic mobility. 

Smart Cents' research-backed activities are designed to be delivered in partnership with schools and across the community by educators from any background, either in-person or virtually. Of those youth who participated, 92 percent said the program encouraged them to plan for the future and 91 percent had an increased understanding of financial literacy.