Merck and GM join group pledging 1 million Black hires in a decade

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A new group that includes Merck, General Motors and Walmart is pledging $100 million in an effort to hire 1 million Black workers during the next decade, expanding on existing corporate vows to increase minority employment.

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The OneTen initiative, co-chaired by Merck chief executive officer Ken Frazier and International Business Machines executive chairman Ginni Rometty, will focus on hiring and training Black workers without four-year college degrees, according to the plan released Thursday. The goal is to provide “family sustaining” jobs that pay an average of about $50,000 a year.

Companies are under pressure from investors, employees and activists to increase workforce diversity and give more opportunities to minorities after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked widespread protests. Black Americans have consistently had higher unemployment rates than White people and trailed in promotions and pay.

Read more: 5 ways to prevent unconscious bias from ruining your company culture

Other members of the founding board include Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express; Charles Phillips, chairman of the Black Economic Alliance; and Kevin Sharer, former CEO of Amgen and former faculty member at Harvard Business School.

The group will begin working with employers in the first quarter of next year and start connecting them with employment recruiters in the second quarter. Member companies will agree to specific hiring targets and financial support based on their size.

The OneTen coalition is one of many recent attempts to increase corporate workforce diversity.

Bloomberg News
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