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Delta Airlines CEO Calls Business Leaders to Join OneTen Coalition to Widen Career Pathways for Black Talent

Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian, is inviting Atlanta business leaders to join the OneTen Coalition, a national initiative working to close the opportunity gaps for Black talent.

The CEO writes in a letter that the coalition takes a skills-first approach to hiring and promotions by prioritizing measurable skills and experience over a four-year degree. While education and training are typical qualifications for employment, it also leaves millions of workers behind who couldn’t afford college.

“Millions of new jobs being added to the U.S. economy remain out of reach for people without traditional four-year college degrees,” Bastian wrote in his letter.

“Specifically, 76% of Black talent age 25 and above in the workforce are without a four-year degree, further perpetuating a wealth gap that has existed for far too long. As business leaders, it’s up to each of us to ensure we’re not leaving talent behind as we move forward.”

The OneTen Coalition was created in 2020 and Delta was one of the founding members committed to racial equity and creating meaningful opportunities for Black talent across America. The coalition’s goal is to hire, train and advance 1 million Black men and women in jobs with opportunities for growth by 2030. The coalition began with about forty organizations but has increased to more than 70.

Delta has made several moves in recent years to support Black men and women including through the launch of its Faces of Travel campaign to promote diversity in advertising. The airline also partnered with HBCU Hampton University to train future Black pilots as part of its Propel Collegiate Pilot Career Path Program and increase the number of Black pilots in the U.S. Currently 2% of American pilots are Black men and women.

Ashley Black, the director of global equity strategies for Delta, said in a statement that it will take all of us working together to create true change.

“Focusing on people, processes and policies through an equity lens lifts all of us,” said Black.

“We support OneTen’s unapologetic focus on closing gaps for Black talent and believe their work will remove barriers for all talent. The power of a coalition or collective is more than any one individual or organization. As corporations look to make the workforce a more equitable place, we must be aligned on the end goal as well as the pathways to get there.”