Group Aiming to Hire 1 Million Black Workers Created 21,000 Jobs This Year

A corporate pledge to hire and promote one million Black workers into middle-class jobs within a decade needs to increase fivefold over the next year to get on pace to reach that goal.

The OneTen initiative, created in 2020 by former International Business Machines Corp. chief executive officer Ginni Rometty and former Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, is working with member companies to get 1 million Black workers into jobs that don’t require 4-year college degrees and pay family-sustaining wages.

A year in, the 60 companies in the group, including Walmart Inc. and General Motors Co., reported hiring 17,000 new Black employees and promoting 4,000 more into better jobs, the group announced Thursday. The coalition needs to be creating, on average, 100,000 jobs a year to reach its goal.

Maurice Jones, the CEO of OneTen, said he has a plan to ramp up new hires and promotions to get on track. Next year, the group aims to get 75,000 people into new jobs, and between 100,000 and 150,000 people in new roles each year by the end of 2023.

“That’s a substantial jump; we basically want a 5X increase,” Jones said in an interview. “There's a lot of hard work that will be needed between now and one million, but this is doable.”