SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of Black History Month, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and its BEA (formerly Black Employees Association) Employee Resource Group (ERG) will celebrate this special occasion with African American communities in Northern and Central California. To further PG&E's ongoing commitment to the African American community throughout 2013, its employees will participate in cultural events and work with local faith leaders to help customers learn more about how to save energy and money, how to stay safe around electricity and natural gas and how to apply for PG&E scholarships. "Diversity and inclusion are core values at PG&E," said Mark Johnson, vice president of Transmission Operations at PG&E and sponsoring officer of the BEA ERG. "We view Black History Month as an opportunity to highlight the rich accomplishments of African Americans, and are honored to join African American communities in celebrating this significant occasion." PG&E has served and engaged with California's African American communities for more than 100 years. In 1980, PG&E's Black Employees Association was created to celebrate the history and contributions of the utility's African Americans employees. In 2009, the group was officially re-named the BEA Employee Resource Group. The BEA ERG makes significant contributions toward enhancing an inclusive culture within PG&E and also plays an active role in the African American communities that the utility serves. Within PG&E, the BEA ERG works to increase the recruitment, retention and advancement of African-American employees by promoting personal and professional growth and working with senior leadership on diversity issues. Within the communities that PG&E serves, the BEA ERG has for many years awarded scholarships to stellar college-bound students in Northern and Central California, encouraged post-secondary education for high school graduates and supported the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Since 1981, the BEA ERG has awarded over $500,000 in college scholarships to hundreds of deserving students. The funds are collected from PG&E employee contributions through the company's Campaign for the Community program, BEA ERG fundraising events and from PG&E's corporate charitable giving. The utility currently has 10 ERGs, which contribute to the personal and professional development of thousands of employees and provide vital opportunities to engage employees in service to diverse communities. They are Access Network, BEA, InspirAsian, Latino, Legacy, NuEnergy, Pride Network, Samahan, Veterans and Women's Network.