Former Obama Official Tapped to Lead OneTen Black Jobs Coalition

The OneTen Coalition, a group of 39 large U.S. companies that pledged to hire 1 million Black workers in the next decade, has tapped a former Obama administration official as its first chief executive officer.

Maurice Jones, the CEO and president of Local Initiatives Support Corp., a nonprofit that promotes community revitalization, will assume the post on March 1, Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck & Co. and a co-chair of OneTen, said in a statement Wednesday. Jones was deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2012 to 2014 and recently served as Virginia’s secretary of Commerce and Trade.

“We’re not fooling ourselves,” Frazier said in an interview for Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead Summit. “This work will be hard.”

U.S. companies have come under rising pressure from investors, employees and activists to increase workforce diversity and give more opportunities to minorities after last summer’s protests over the killing of George Floyd. Black Americans consistently have higher unemployment rates than White people and trail in promotions and pay.

OneTen members will focus on training and hiring Black workers without four-year college degrees for “family sustaining” jobs that pay an average of about $50,000 a year. The group, which includes Walmart Inc., General Motors Co. and Target Corp., will need to add smaller companies to meet the goals, said OneTen co-Chair Ginni Rometty, who retired at the end of last year as chair of International Business Machines Corp.

The group has added two corporate members since its Dec. 10 launch: Northrop Grumman Corp. and Gilead Sciences Inc.

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