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Multicultural Spotlight: Addressing barriers to Black talent development in workforce

Multicultural Spotlight: barriers to Black talent development

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — News 8 on Monday wrapped up a three-week series examining Black talent development in Indiana, that stretch from getting a K-12 education to landing higher-wage jobs.

Emil Ekiyor, a WISH-TV contributor and the chief executive officer of InnoPower Indy Inc., took viewers through barriers that people can face.

“So, one of the things that we know today more than ever is businesses and corporations have more skin in the game in the development process. In the past, corporations just waited till the best talent came out of college and pretty much just picked from that, and we know today they just can’t afford to do that. But, this is, in most cases, very new for a lot of companies, a lot of businesses. What does it mean to have skin in the game in the development process? Internships. Apprenticeships. How do we make sure that young people are being exposed to the workforce at an early age so they understand what it means to be an employee or to grow through and navigate the workforce?”

Ekiyor was asked if mentorship opportunities exist. “Yeah, definitely. So, one of the things that we do know is this. When we say Black communities, for the most part, we’re talking about predominant Black communities, which unfortunately, we’re saying lower-income communities. A lot of times, the mindset of those communities (is) let me work hard and get out of here, right? I’m going to do what I have to do, put in the work, and I’m leaving. So, you continuously lose your talent, right? People are working hard and then leaving those communities because now if I go from making $28,000 and I make $50,000, I’m moving from a stereotype in the far east side to the north side to an apartment building. So when you’re losing your talent, you say, OK, where is that mentorship going to come from when your talent is consistently leaving? So, we have to be extremely creative about mentorships, and a big part of it is how do we take you out of this community, in some cases, so you can see what’s better out there, so now you can come back and build your community?”

Ekiyor says the million-dollar question is how to make creative mentorships to retain people.

“We have a lot of organizations today are trying to do good work, but they’re all looking for mentors. They’re looking for adults who want to give their time to spend with these young people. So again, we have to look at it from the lens of that. What do we really want to happen? We can’t hope for the situation to happen. … We all have to have skin in the game to making this happen”

Finally, a major question is financial education for people rising up from school to the workforce.

Ekiyor recalled his experiences.

“I didn’t have a way to know how to invest money, how to keep my credit the right way. So, you learn by making mistakes unfortunately, and sometimes those mistakes would be drastic. So, the financial literacy — how you take care of money, how you invest money opportunities — those are things we have to bake into the education system on a day-to-day basis”

This story is from video aired on WISH-TV.