How One DEI Initiative Changed Course With the Times

Three years ago, dozens of big companies formed a coalition and declared an ambitious goal: to lift one million Black workers into good-paying jobs over the next 10 years, by hiring or promoting them.

The resulting nonprofit, OneTen, was created amid a crescendo of calls to address racial injustice after George Floyd’s murder in 2020. It asked its members — including AT&T, Bank of America, Cisco, Delta Air Lines, Dow, General Motors, Nike and Walmart — to pledge to hire and promote Black workers based on skills instead of college degrees.

Fast-forward, and the social climate has since changed drastically. Pushing Black-only hiring programs has grown increasingly controversial, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling last year against race-based affirmative action policies at universities.

OneTen, which has fallen far behind the pace needed to reach its initial goal, is at the forefront of a movement to adopt diversity, equity and inclusion methods in business. And it has been forced to change with the times.

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