T.D. Jakes Foundation Weekly Updates – October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

We want to serve as a resource. To keep you abreast of critical issues dominating the national discourse—including diversity, equity and inclusion; the digital divide; STEAM education; entrepreneurship and small business—we’re compiling timely news and information in one place because the first step to fixing a problem is understanding it.

T.D. Jakes Foundation in Action

The T.D. Jakes Foundation is excited to partner with Frito-Lay, Dallas Summer Musicals and Dallas ISD to bring a groundbreaking STEAM education program themed to Broadway-smash hit “HAMILTON.” Over the course of multiple weeks, 3,400 theatre students and teachers from 25 Dallas ISD High Schools will participate in specially created curriculum that relates to the HAMILTON production. The lesson plan culminates with all the participating students and teachers attending a full performance of HAMILTON. Learn more about this exciting partnership in the Dallas Morning News, ABC and NBC.

The T.D. Jakes Foundation PATHWAY program, and its Virtual Hiring Platform, a 365 days-a-year program, is connecting job candidates to corporations actively recruiting diverse talent. We encourage people at all stages in their careers, from entry-level candidates and recent college graduates to experienced job seekers and advanced-degree holders to become part of the program! Visit our website to learn more and submit your information and connect with companies looking for diverse talent!

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion                                       

As one of the few Black CEOs of a major company in Silicon Valley, Eric Kelly made it a priority to hire African Americans and other people of color at his hybrid Cloud IT infrastructure firm, and he did not have difficulty finding them, he said. “The problem for others has been either they didn’t really know where to look or that they didn’t look hard enough or that they didn’t really look at all,” Kelly said. Read more from NBC News.

In commentary for Forbes, Maurice Jones and Byron Auguste write that despite an all-time high of 10.9 million job openings, the fact that nearly 50% of U.S. workers are seeking to change careers, and the struggles of many employers to fill positions, Black unemployment still rose in August, with twice as many Black Americans looking for work than were hired. This disappointing news is another sign of persistent racial disparities in employment. It’s also a sign of a missed talent opportunity for U.S. companies—and it’s something employers have the power to change. Read more here.

George Floyd’s murder led many in corporate America to ask what they could do to address centuries-old social injustices. For many, the initial response has meant committing to increased diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own employee ranks, boards of directors, and third-party business relationships. But meaningful change will require more than simply wanting to do the right thing. It will require conscious effort, commitment, and a plan. It also requires developing strategies that comply with the law to protect the company and to obtain buy-in from key company stakeholders that will ensure the long-term success of inclusive strategies. Bloomberg Law has more.

The pandemic may be winding down, but the gender equity issues which it helped to heighten show no signs of receding. And that’s a hugely important message for corporate boards and their commitment to oversight of workforce culture. The seventh annual Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey and LeanIn.org, (“the Study”) featured in a recent special edition of The Wall Street Journal, concludes that the pandemic notwithstanding, the representation of women in corporate leadership improved notably in 2020. Read more in Forbes.

Digital Divide

The pandemic made clear how vital virtual accessibility is to society. However, a lack of internet access in rural areas across the United States remains, and a higher proportion of Black Americans are digitally disconnected, a recent study shows. Read more from Reuters.

A new study from NASA reveals how a proposed lunar Wi-Fi network could impact communities that lack reliable internet on Earth. The Compass Lab at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland conducted the study to address connectivity concerns on Earth as a test-case for space. Local neighborhoods were compared to the size of the prospective Artemis basecamp near the Moon’s South Pole. Fox News has more.

Education Update

Everyone wants their kids to be happy and successful. Teaching them about personal finance and economics can help make that happen. In fact, the lack of financial education can be devastating, leading to credit card and student loan debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck and not saving enough for retirement. In recent years, there has been a push to bring finance and economics classes to students across the U.S. While the nation celebrates Financial Literacy Month in April, there was no official month dedicated to celebrating economic education — until now. This October marks the first-ever National Economic Education Month. CNBC has more.

More than 1 million Texans lost jobs seemingly overnight and the state’s unemployment rate nearly quadrupled when the coronavirus pandemic first slammed the economy early last year. But a less-visible impact of the pandemic — a steep decline in educational attainment by Texas students amid the crisis — might end up having even bigger negative economic consequences long term, according to the state’s top public school official. Read more in the Austin America-Statesman.

Help Wanted

From software engineers to data scientists, chief information officers are stacking corporate technology teams with hired guns, filling skill gaps with freelancers and independent contractors. The strategy, which isn’t new but has seen an upsurge since the onset of Covid-19, comes as companies race ahead with pandemic-spurred plans to digitize more business processes, CIOs, staffing firms and industry analysts say. Read more in the WSJ.

For many college students, the pandemic’s arrival last year did more than disrupt their studies, threaten their health and shut down campus life. It also closed off the usual paths that lead from the classroom to jobs after graduation. Companies abandoned on-campus recruiting visits, and the coronavirus-induced recession caused hiring to contract. But this year, seniors and recent graduates are in great demand as white-collar employers staff up, with some job-seekers receiving multiple offers. University placement office directors and corporate human resources executives report that hiring is running well above last year’s levels, and in some cases surpassing pre-pandemic activity in 2019. The NYT has more.

Companies shook off worries over the Covid delta variant and hired at a faster-than-expected pace in September, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP. The data comes amid concerns about how fast hiring would grow considering ongoing fears over the delta spread and signs that the brisk economic growth of 2021 was beginning to slow heading into autumn, particularly due to supply chain bottlenecks that have driven inflation sharply higher. Read more on CNBC.com.


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