We are experiencing one of the biggest calls to action in our nation’s history: a call for social, economic, and racial justice. We must do everything within our power to ensure that this moment becomes a movement. To truly close the opportunity gap in this country and ensure that socioeconomic mobility is accessible to all, we need large-scale systems change that addresses the root causes.

Business leaders have an enormous opportunity—and, in my opinion, responsibility—to support racial justice by increasing access to jobs and career advancement. Employers hold the key to economic opportunity and must leverage their power to create a more just America through reimagined hiring and employment practices. Ensuring equitable access to jobs and career advancement, especially as we work to rebuild our economy and livelihoods post-COVID, is paramount to creating a prosperous future for all.

Too many young adults face countless obstacles, built by centuries of systemic racism, to reaching their full potential.  We need to make bold changes to ensure that our employment system works to create economic mobility for those who have been marginalized and disconnected from the economic mainstream.

I’m inspired and energized by the recent announcement of OneTen, a coalition of visionary employers who have committed to create one million new opportunities for Black people in America over the next ten years. I’m heartened to see the leadership from some of our amazing partners like Accenture, American Express, Bank of America, Deloitte and Merck. Year Up and Grads of Life were honored to support its creation, and I’m thrilled to see it come to fruition. We’ll continue to support in any way we can; there has never been a more critical time to engage in this work.

As the announcement shares, “OneTen is not just philanthropy. Rather it is a coalition of leaders across industries who are committed to ensuring that Black Americans with the skills and aptitude to earn success also have the opportunity to achieve success. Recognizing that the current system is not inclusive enough and has reinforced systemic barriers that have prevented many Black Americans from the opportunity to earn success, OneTen has set out to change the way companies provide more equitable environments to drive better business outcomes and benefit all employees.”

In addition to hiring significant numbers of Black Americans, member organizations will come together in a CEO-led community to share knowledge around the best practices that lead to success in hiring, advancing, and retaining Black talent. These commitments indicate the beginning of a new standard in corporate America: one where the top companies are the ones who commit to racial equity at every level of their employment practices.

Corporate America has a unique opportunity to lead us toward a more equitable future by expanding access to economic opportunity and mobility. As our economy recovers, we are at a national turning point. Huge portions of the population are at risk of being left behind during recovery, but if employers are intentional about building systems and processes that support economic inclusion for all Americans, we can build a stronger economy—and a more just America—than ever before. OneTen is a very important step in that work, and I encourage you to learn more about how your organization can get involved at oneten.org.

Be well, Gerald