SAN FRANCISCO, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, PG&E and its InspirAsian Employee Resource Group (ERG) and Samahan ERG will celebrate this special occasion with Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Northern and Central California. "We are proud to celebrate the diversity, rich culture and contributions of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities," said Jane Yura, vice president of standards and policies for gas operations at PG&E, a longtime supporter of the utility's ERGs. "Having a broad and diverse employee base at PG&E reinforces our commitment to the communities where we live and work, and helps us to provide safe, reliable and affordable gas and electric service to our diverse customers." PG&E has served and engaged with California's Asian and Pacific Islander communities for more than 100 years. They, in turn, have played a major role in determining how the utility delivers services to its customers. Through advertising in Asian language media, appearing at regional cultural events and working with local groups, the utility shares important information on safety, cost saving and financial assistance with the diverse communities. The direct outreach not only helps critical material reach insular members of the community, it also provides economic benefits to a range of Asian owned businesses and organizations. PG&E recently announced that it achieved an all-time high of over $2 billion in spending with diverse suppliers in 2012, accounting for 38.8 percent of its total procurement budget. PG&E's total spending on Asian-owned business enterprises also reached an all-time high of $290 million, an increase of $71 million or 32.6 percent over 2011. At PG&E, nearly 15 percent of employees have identified themselves as Asian, native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. PG&E established Samahan ERG (formerly known as Filipino Employees Association) in 1971 and InspirAsian ERG (formerly known as Asian Employees Association) in 1984. Both ERGs aim to enhance an inclusive culture within PG&E, offer career development to its members, provide community support and award scholarships to stellar students. More than 1,000 employees joined the groups, which are open to all employees regardless of their ethnic background.