Experts: Apology First Step in Diversifying Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf apologized on Wednesday for claiming that the lack of diversity on the bank’s operating committee was due to “a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.” The comments sent shockwaves across the nation.

“There are many talented diverse individuals working at Wells Fargo and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise,” Scharf said in a statement. “It’s clear to me that, across the industry, we have not done enough to improve diversity, especially at senior leadership levels. And there is no question Wells Fargo has to make meaningful progress to increase diverse representation.”

The apology came

Charles Scharf

after criticism mounted against Scharf for comments he made in a June memo, wherein he stated that the bank’s operating committee needed more diverse representation but that “the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.” Scharf has been at the helm of the bank since 2019.

“It’s so hard to tell because you’re reading a memo. You don’t know what he intended,” said Dr. Scott E. Page, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. “But let’s put this in the best possible light. He could have said, ‘We’re using very old-school methods to attract talent. And because of that, there’s a shortage of African American and women talent’ or something like that. That would not be a racist or sexist statement. It would be a criticism of the way the organization is going out and finding talent.”

Dr. Montressa L. Washington, an assistant professor of management and director of the Shenandoah University Institute for Entrepreneurship, said she was curious to see what follows Scharf’s apology.

“In 12 months, will Wells Fargo increase the number of Black employees in senior level executive positions, in positions that you require college degrees and positions that have upward mobility, in positions where people are part of the decision-making process?” Washington asked. “In 12 months, will his orga

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Lumina Foundation’s Webinar Focuses on Credentials and Digital Skills Needed in the COVID-19 Economy

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the United States economy into a recession, the Lumina Foundation hosted a virtual webinar on Wednesday to discuss labor outcomes, credentials and digital skills necessary to tackle the current job market.

Over 600 people attended the webinar, “Navigating the Work of the Future with LinkedIn and Microsoft,” which also looked at ways the postsecondary education can change within the context of the pandemic and racial inequities.

Dr. Karin Kimbrough

“I think it is pretty clear that it is time to set a shift in America’s postsecondary education system,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “Both LinkedIn, Microsoft and Lumina Foundation are interested in making learning more accessible and helping to make it more equitable and applicable.”

In August, the unemployment rate was 8.4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall hiring within the U.S. has shown minimal improvement since the middle of August, according to Dr. Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn. Industries such as education, state and local governments and entertainment have continued to struggle financially while real estate, health care, transport and logistics are in recovery.

Over the summer, many students and recent graduates received news about cancelled internship programs and rescinded job offers.  Naria Santa Lucia, general manager of digital inclusion and U.S. community engagement for Microsoft Philanthropies, said employers must look at ways to keep these programs up and running either by offering other ways to provide workforce experience or urging policymakers to create funding opportunities.

“It’s really important that we do have that long game in mind,” she said, adding that for those seeking employment, the hiring market now goes beyond earning a degree.

“It’s often about building a constellation of different kinds of credentials,” said Dr. Chauncy Lennon, vice president for the future of learning and work at Lumina Foundation.

Take Three Classes and Utah State University Guarantees Your Admission in New Policy

Utah State University announced a new admissions policy on Wednesday, aimed at increasing access for students who lack the grades or test scores to normally be considered. The Earned Admission program will guarantee first-year applicants a spot at the university if they pass three self-paced courses in English, math and study skills.

The goal is to give these students an alternate way to show their college readiness and to give them an academic boost ahead of enrollment.

“Utah State is a land-grant institution for the state of Utah, so one of our primary missions is access,” said Katie Jo North, Utah State University’s executive director of new student enrollment. “We’re able to say, ‘You know what? Why don’t you show us that you’re ready to come to school,’ and we made a really easy process for them to be able to have those opportunities.”

The university developed the three entrance classes in partnership with StraighterLine, an educational company that creates online higher education courses. To participate in the program, future students pay $125 a month, and they can finish their classes at any pace they choose, though on average, they complete them in about 40 days, said Burck Smith, CEO of StraighterLine. The classes include access to live tutoring, student advisors and a coaching service. Once students pass, they’re enrolled at Utah State University for the subsequent semester.

The idea of “risk reduction” is baked into the model, Smith added. If an underprepared student drops out of college, that’s a “black mark” on his or her transcript, but in their StraighterLine courses, they can “stop and start as they see fit” in a “highly supported” environment – and then they’re guaranteed college entrance at the end.

Utah State University faculty and administrators vetted each of the courses, so North is “really confident” that the new program won’t change the school’s admissions standards.

“It doesn’t lower our admissions parameters by any means,” she said, “because it is actually having [students] earn that admissions spot. That’s why we called it Earned Admission. It actually gives s

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Two Yale Faculty Named Among 100 Most Inspiring Hispanic/Latinx Scientists

Cell Mentor, an online professional resource for scientists created by Cell Press, just named two faculty at Yale among the 100 most inspiring Hispanic/Latinx scientists.

As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a committee of scientific advisors selected Drs. Daniel Colón-Ramos and Enrique De La Cruz, based on scholarly achievements, mentoring excellence, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). They have each successfully created labs to investigate questions in biology today.

Colón-Ramos is Puerto Rican, and was the recipient of the 2018 National Institutes of Health Pioneer Award, the 2018 Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Early Career Award, and the Sloan Research Fellowship.

De La Cruz is a first-generation Cuban-American, and has received many awards as well, including the Emily M. Gray Teaching Award from the Biophysical Society for “promotion of diversity in science and education and tireless efforts as an inspiring ambassador of biophysics.”

Cell Mentor announced the awards and wrote: “Our aim in assembling these names is to put an end to the harmful myth that there are not enough diverse scientists to give seminars, serve as panelists, or fill scientific positions. We highlight scientists encompassing careers within academia, government, and biotech and showcase individuals committed to serving diverse student populations at Hispanic-serving institutions.”

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