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Financial Inclusion and Advancing Opportunities for Entrepreneurship

Speakers:
Julie Hyman, Anchor, Yahoo Finance
Maurice Jones, President and CEO, OneTen
Gaston Taratuta, CEO and Founder, Aleph, Inc.
Rick Wade, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Opening a pathway to the middle class is a crucial goal for Maurice Jones, President & CEO of OneTen. Nearly 80% of jobs with salaries over $60,000 require four-year degrees, but approximately three-fourths of Black people do not have these degrees. Jones noted that employers should prioritize skills over education. Rick Wade, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, agreed, mentioning that there is nothing more important than creating economic opportunities. Entrepreneurs–particularly small and minority-owned firms–need to have a pathway to success. 

There is good news, explained Gaston Taratuta, CEO & Founder of Aleph, Inc. Today’s digital world allows for employers to prioritize skills because knowledge can be gained very quickly. Pushing on that idea, Julie Hyman, Anchor at Yahoo Finance, asked panelists to look at how we can move more people into the workforce. Wade noted that tech-enabled companies are able to take advantage of opportunities worldwide. Jones highlighted the idea of mentorship and proximity as a way to help people navigate company culture and transformations. Taratuta noted that mobile technology is a great equalizer.

Closing the session, Hyman asked the panelists to weigh in on the conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Wade pointed out that while the conversation has been robust, we have yet to see tangible results in action. Jones countered with optimism, noting that we have not seen this kind of corporate commitment in the past. Taratuta expressed his belief that the digital world provides unprecedented opportunity, and encouraged underrepresented groups to equip themselves with the skills needed in today’s world. 

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • A skills-first economy provides opportunity for those without traditional education and degrees. Digitization is opening up new avenues for success.
  • The conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion is important but more important are the concrete steps companies, nonprofits, and individuals themselves can take to provide and seize opportunities for success.

“The progress to get diversity in the upper ranks – it’s slow.”

 

Julie Hyman, Anchor, Yahoo Finance

“We’re focusing on making sure that the pathway to the middle class in America is one that’s open to more people than those who have four-year degrees.”

 

Maurice Jones, President & CEO, OneTen

“There is still a lot to grow [and] a lot of opportunity to weave accessibility to people.”

 

Gaston Taratuta, CEO & Founder, Aleph, Inc.

“This conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion has to extend to the corporate boardrooms. It’s got to extend into C-suites.”

 

Rick Wade, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce