T.D. Jakes Foundation Weekly Updates – November 8, 2021

November 8, 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

Last month, our president & CEO Hattie Hill joined the “Creating Our Own Intersections” panel discussion through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, where she spoke about using creativity and innovation to solve problems. Watch the discussion here.

Michael Phillips, T.D. Jakes Foundation’s Chief Engagement and Fulfillment Officer is focusing on doing away with the school-to-prison pipeline for others. This work led him to write a book called Wrong Lanes Have Right Turns which will be released in January 2022. Read more about Michael’s incredible story here.

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!

Help Wanted

U.S. companies are downsizing the hiring process. Beauty product retailer The Body Shop is dropping educational requirements and background checks for job applicants. United Parcel Service Inc. is making some job offers in as little as 10 minutes. CVS Health Inc. no longer requires college graduates to submit their grades. In a labor market where job openings outnumber applicants, companies are getting creative on how to get more candidates in the door and to the floor. The hiring overhaul signals a potentially broad retooling of job qualifications, a change that could help millions of people enter jobs previously out of reach, according to economists and workforce experts. Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

Signing bonuses have typically been a favored tactic of corporations vying to attract a star executive or a sports team luring an All-Star. But such enticements are now becoming the norm for low-wage retail workers in a super-tight labor market heading into a frantic holiday season. Fortune has more.

America’s worker shortage is alive and well, much to the misfortune of U.S. companies that need staff to keep up with demand. The National Association of Business Economics (NABE) found that nearly half — 47% — of respondents to its Business Conditions Survey reported a shortage of skilled workers in the third quarter. That’s up from 32% reporting shortages in the second quarter of the year, which already was too high for comfort. And nobody thinks the labor shortages will just disappear as 2021 turns to 2022. Read more from CNN.

American workers are taking home bigger paychecks as employers pay up to attract and retain employees. But those same people are shelling out more for furniture, food and many other goods and services these days. It is not yet clear which side of that equation — higher pay or higher prices — is going to win out, but the answer could matter enormously for the Federal Reserve and the White House. Read more in the NYT.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Olivia Jaras, CEO of Salary Coaching for Women, discusses why the gender wage gap isn’t closing — and what women can do about it. Read more in Forbes.

There are misconceptions about what diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) actually means, says Rueben M. Stokes, a justice, equity, diversity and inclusion expert. Stokes told WASTECON attendees why the concept of DEI isn’t doing the right thing or fixing wrongs of the past, but rather a forward-looking business strategy to increase efficiencies, organization capability and to generate profit. Read more here.

The FBI and Department of Housing and Urban Development say the success of their respective diversity, equity and inclusion plans depend on widespread adoption and a greater understanding of the data behind employee disparities. Monica Matthews, HUD chief human capital officer, said the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) created a twofold strategy for greater diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the realm of talent acquisition. An agile analytics tool and a “people plan” to systemically incorporate DEIA principles in the office highlight the two approaches HUD is taking in this area. Read more here.

Digital Divide

After months of heated negotiation among Democrats, the House of Representatives on Friday night passed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which provides funding for everything from roads and bridges to electrical grids. A small but important sliver of the infrastructure bill could also be a possible salve to the digital divide. Read more from CNet.

A national nonprofit backed by Silicon Valley luminaries is proposing to set up free WiFi in apartment buildings as one solution to an intractable problem — ensuring those who have access to the internet can actually afford it. Axios has more.


Dallas County recently lowered the COVID-19 risk level from red to orange as cases continue to decrease in our area. Last week, the FDA released an approved vaccine available for children ages 5 to 11. Dallas ISD is partnering with various organizations to operate a series of vaccine clinics at various elementary schools, set to begin later this month. Find out more from DISD’s blog.

Vanessa Martinez is a bilingual teacher at Bishop Arts STEAM Academy, a traditional neighborhood school and a choice school where—with dedication and hard work—students flourish through personal and academic accomplishment. Martinez has been part of Dallas ISD for 21 years altogether as a student and employee. Born and raised in the Oak Cliff area, she attended Bishop Arts STEAM Academy, formerly John H. Reagan Elementary, then W.E Greiner Middle School, graduating from the School of Health Professions at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. Learn more about Vanessa here.


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