- A new startup founded by former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Merck CEO Ken Frazier has already raised $100 million in funding to help hire and train Black workers without four-year college degrees.
- In an interview with Business Insider, Merck CEO Ken Frazier said OneTen will start with Black Americans but will expand their efforts to include other minority groups.
- OneTen’s mission is to provide “family sustaining” jobs that pay an average of $40,000 to $50,000 a year, said former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.
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On Thursday, a who’s-who list of over 30 top business leaders across various industries launched a startup that will connect corporate America with Black workers.
Called OneTen, the startup’s mission is to see one million Black Americans get hired and promoted in corporate jobs over the next 10 years. To start, they’ve already recruited 37 leading executives, including American Express CEO Ken Chenault, Merck CEO Ken Frazier, former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, among others and raised more than $100 million in funding.
As one of only four Black CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, Frazier said the spark that brought all the CEOs together was the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed in police custody in May.
“Where corporate America can actually create value in this area or help the most is hiring because that’s in our wheelhouse,” Ken Frazier, Merck CEO, told Business Insider. “We are the creators of wealth in this country.”
Yet, Black professionals have been large shut out of that wealth-creating opportunity, holding only 3.2% of senior leadership roles and less than 1% of all Fortune 500 CEO positions, according to study by Coqual, a global think tank that tracks underrepresented groups in corporate America.
The average black family has $4,000 worth of wealth while the average white family has $150,000, said Frazier
Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty told Business Insider that the nonprofit organization will help Black Americans without four-year college degrees find and retain “family-sustaining jobs” that pay an average of $40,000 to $50,000 a year.
“This is not just an entry job that’s a dead end,” said Rometty. “The idea would be to turn a job into a career.”
To reach their target of 1 million black workers, OneTen will first have to pick a CEO for the startup said Rometty. The group also plans to identify specific cities where there’s a need for hiring and then work with community colleges and non-profits like Year Up and Per Scholas to provide training and develop the necessary skills to succeed, she added.
Although the group is starting with Black Americans, Rometty expects to expand their efforts to include other minority groups.
“Diversity is a fact and a number, inclusion is a decision,” she said. “To me, this is about 37 companies making a decision to change the inclusion in their companies.”
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