New career marketplace seeks to help Black talent without college degree find family-sustaining work

OneTen wants to help facilitate the hiring, promotion and advancement of 1 million Black individuals over 10 years.

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OneTen announced today the launch of a career marketplace to help Black talent without a college degree find work and build skills that could lead to better jobs and family-sustaining opportunities.

The coalition, which focuses on job opportunities and skill-building, made the announcement on the one-year anniversary of its initial launch. OneTen’s mission is to help facilitate the hiring, promotion and advancement of 1 million Black individuals over 10 years. 

“There’s a 10-year journey to 1 million, so this is all about how you put into place a framework that we can then scale. That’s what we’re doing now,” Maurice Jones, OneTen’s chief executive officer, told theGrio.

Maurice Jones, CEO, OneTen (Photo courtesy of OneTen)

OneTen has more than 70 member companies in its coalition to help create economic opportunity, including Merck, IBM and Delta, as well as more than 100 additional partners who help provide skill-building.

OneTen is already off to a good start. From March to December 2021, Jones said, 30,000 people were hired or promoted into family-sustaining careers. On its website, OneTen notes that MIT’s Living Wage Calculator says family-sustaining means wages just north of  $60,000 to $90,000 and more, depending on the region of the country.

OneTen’s 2021 annual report shows the importance of focusing on those without a four-year college education. Three out of four Black adults don’t have a degree, making it harder to earn livable wages.

The Economic Policy Institute paints a grim picture. Since 2000, wage growth for white and Hispanic workers has been about four times that of Black workers. Wage gaps between Black people and their white counterparts grew between 2000 and 2018, the year the institute released the study.  

OneTen focuses on getting talent into the right jobs and building skills to help existing talent qualify for promotion and advancement at their current companies 

 “You cannot accomplish something this ambitious unless the private sector leads,” Jones said. 

“What we are fundamentally talking about here is really eliminating a barrier to Black talent earning their way into the middle class. That barrier is largely one that the companies themselves have the most control over, where do they impose the requirement of a four-year credential as opposed to looking at skills and understanding that people can come about skills through a number of different ways,” Jones said.

OneTen’s initiative seeks to help Black talent find family-sustaining job (Photo courtesy of OneTen)

Aleta Howell, the global inclusive recruiting strategy lead at Cisco, one of the partner employers,  touted the importance of the OneTen initiative in a statement to theGrio.

“At Cisco, we are committed to removing barriers and creating career pathways through skills-based hiring,” Howell said. “The OneTen initiative is incredibly important for attaining and retaining talent at Cisco, and our OneTen hires bring exceptional talent, skills and experience to our organization.”


Jones said he believes there’s a role in the public sector, too, where he has a wealth of experience. He served as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the deputy chief of staff for Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, and worked for the U.S. Department of Treasury.

“We hope that there will be some significant places where the public sector can be a partner. I’ll give you an example. We think apprenticeships are one of the vehicles that are underutilized in this country and can be better utilized to diversify our workforce to give Black [people] an opportunity to earn and learn at the same time,” Jones said. “We will need the partnership of government to really scale this.”

Jones said OneTen always seeks new companies as partners.

“We are out recruiting companies, constantly letting folks know about the mission and the coalition and the work that we’re trying to do,” he said. “But companies are also calling on us.”

And when companies call, they can’t join unless the CEO agrees to a 10-year commitment to “transforming their companies into ones where you would see a skills-first culture and a real commitment to hiring and promoting Black talent,” Jones said. “We want to make sure that the CEO is absolutely committed to the mission and to the duration because without that, we worried about the risk of doing this for a short season and then leaving.”

He said OneTen purposely uses the phrase “Black talent” because “it’s actually more inclusive of the diversity of folks in the Black community that we’re trying to be partners with.”

If you’re interested in applying for a job through OneTen, click here.

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