July 12, 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
For 25 years, Chairman Jakes has been leading transformational change in the City of Dallas. The Dallas Morning News recently sat down with Chairman Jakes for a wide-ranging interview where he discussed the launch of the PATHWAY program to provide living-wage jobs and accountability.
On August 17, the T.D. Jakes Foundation will host its first Virtual Hiring Expo, matching candidates from underrepresented communities to hundreds of open positions at leading companies. To qualify, candidates should submit their information to become part of the PATHWAY program’s skills database.
Need additional resources around STEAM this summer? The T.D. Jakes Foundation has compiled a list of STEAM resources for the arts, coding, and engineering and even resources specifically for kids and teachers. Check out our STEAM resources here.
Diverse Role Models
For the first time in its 96-year history, an African American has taken home the top prize in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Zaila Avant-garde, 14, an eighth grader from Harvey, La., won the prestigious competition—and the $50,000 prize. In addition to being a spelling champ, Zaila holds three Guinness World Records for her basketball talents. Read more at NPR.
For the second chapter of its 50 Over 50 project, Forbes is spotlighting 50 women who are leading the way in impact through their contributions to social entrepreneurship, law, advocacy and education. The diverse list includes both well-known figures and rising stars, including Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Fla.); Natalye Paquin, President and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation; and Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP. Read more about these trailblazing women in Forbes.
Just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Mattel is releasing a Naomi Osaka Barbie Role Model doll in honor of “the first Japanese player to win a major title in a singles match” in 2018. The Naomi Osaka Barbie® doll is part of Barbie’s celebration of “real life role models,” which feature “remarkable women who are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation. Read more in Black Enterprise.
Richard Branson became the first person to ride into space aboard a rocket he helped fund. On Sunday, in New Mexico, Branson and three Virgin Galactic employees boarded SpaceShipTwo, a winged plane with a single rocket motor attached to a massive, twin-fuselage mothership. Just after 9:15 a.m., SpaceShipTwo detached from its mothership at the edge of space, allowing its passengers to suspend in weightlessness and enjoy panoramic views of Earth and space for several minutes. Branson’s flight comes only nine days before Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is slated to rocket into suborbital space aboard his company’s own spacecraft. Read the story at CNN.
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, British designer Thomas Heatherwick showed off a car designed to strip the air of pollution as it drives. The Airo is expected to go into production in China in 2023, with plans to produce a million vehicles. In addition to reducing pollution, the car is also meant to provide alternative space for its owners. Vehicles are equipped with a large glass roof and an interior that looks like a room with adjustable chairs that can be turned into beds and a central table intended for meetings or meals. Read more in the BBC.
DFW Restaurant Week 2021 will kick off on August 6, with about 100 restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area offering fixed-menu dinners priced at $39 or $49 per person, and two-course lunches priced at $19 per person. Now in its 24th year, the annual event raises money for good causes, with 20% from each meal going to two local charities: North Texas Food Bank and Lena Pope. Visit The Dallas Morning News for a Full List of Participating Restaurants
For the first time in 16 months, the Dallas Theater Center is back in action, presenting Working: A Musical, running through July 18 at Annette Strauss Square. The performance takes place outdoors and features a cast with seven members of the Brierley Resident Acting Company. First performed in the late 1970s, Working: A Musical—which honors working people like delivery drivers, teachers, truckers and cleaning women—was updated in 2008 to include two songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. In between songs, the performance highlights interviews with real local workers, which are displayed on video screens at the back of the stage. Learn more about the production at CultureMap Dallas.
Minerva Cordero, Pamela Padilla and Manuela Murillo Sánchez are part of two underrepresented groups—Latina women—in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Though women comprise half of the U.S. workforce, they account for only about 27% of STEM professionals, and Latinas represent just 2% of all STEM workers, despite making up 7% of the workforce. In this Dallas Morning News article, the three Dallas-area women discuss their unique experiences, as well as role models who helped them forge careers in STEM.
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment rose slightly the first week of July to 373,000, according to the Labor Department. Since covid caused massive layoffs, the labor market continues to rebound, with some 850,000 jobs added in June. But employees are also reporting difficulty hiring workers. A survey by search platform Joblist found that 74% of job seekers believe employers need to re-evaluate benefits, while 38% of former hospitality employees say they are not even considering returning to that industry. U.S. News has the latest.
The jobs are back! But where? CNBC studied the net changes by industry for the June jobs report based on government data. The result: the leisure and hospitality sector provided the brightest point, with 343,000 positions added in June as restaurants hired droves of cooks, bartenders and service staff. While the industry lost about half of its entire workforce in between March and April of 2020, June’s jobs report shows that it has now recouped some 73% of those losses. Other notable industry gains include government employment, professional and business services, and retail.
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