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  • Black Workers May Lose $40B Due to AI, JetBlue Hires 1st Woman to Lead a Major US Airline, & Bosses Aren't Backing Down From RTO

Black Workers May Lose $40B Due to AI, JetBlue Hires 1st Woman to Lead a Major US Airline, & Bosses Aren't Backing Down From RTO

DEI in 5: Biweekly DEI News

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There have been a ton of layoffs recently, and I know of a LOT of incredibly talented people in my network who are looking for work.

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Three Black Women DEI Pracitioners Walk Into an Office… 😮‍💨

It’s the 50th episode of the ‘DEI in 5’ musical YouTube series! I’m still not monetized on YouTube (boo!), but hey, maybe this will be the year. I’ll be joined by two of my fave DEI pals: Caren Young and Clarissa Fuselier. It’s going to be a discussion that you don’t want to miss! Join us Thurs, 1/10 @ 11 AM EST on YouTube or LinkedIn or watch the replay later.

Today’s DEI News👇🏾

  • Black workers could be shut out of AI wealth creation and lose out on more than $40 billion: ‘It can be the great leveler, but it can exacerbate the gap as well’

  • Bosses aren’t backing down from their RTO demands in 2024

  • The anti-DEI movement has gone from fringe to mainstream. Here’s what that means for corporate America

  • JetBlue's CEO to step down, will be replaced by 1st woman to lead a big U.S. airline

  • How Much Is Too Much Automation in the Workplace? How AI Could Be Hurting Your Employees

    Read time: 5 minutes

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Today’s Top 3 👇🏾

This image features a highly realistic portrayal of a Black individual in a blue-collar job setting, such as a construction worker, mechanic, or warehouse operative. The worker is depicted in a lifelike work environment, possibly a construction site or workshop, with authentic features and attire characteristic of their profession. In the background, elements of AI technology, like automated machinery or a robotic arm, are subtly incorporated, suggesting the growing impact of AI in their field. The image captures the essence of the worker's daily life and the looming influence of AI technology on their job security and work environment.

Summary: The rise of generative AI has the potential to widen the racial wealth gap, posing a particular risk to Black workers who might miss out on AI-generated wealth due to existing disparities.

The Details:

  • Wealth Creation by AI: AI is anticipated to generate $500 billion in new household wealth by 2045, but racial wealth disparities could mean Black households fall $43 billion behind annually.

  • High-Mobility Jobs at Risk: Many Black workers rely on high-mobility jobs that do not require a college degree. These jobs are at high risk of being disrupted by AI.

  • Necessary Interventions: To prevent the widening of the wealth gap, companies must involve chief diversity officers in AI planning and see AI as a tool to augment jobs, not replace them.

  • Upskilling and Training: There's an urgent need for workforce preparation, upskilling in coding, and training in troubleshooting machine-generated code, as well as in socioemotional skills that AI cannot replicate.

Why is this relevant: As AI technology evolves, it's crucial to ensure that Black workers are not left behind. This includes incorporating DEI in AI strategies and talent development to mitigate the risk of a growing wealth gap. The responsible implementation and utilization of AI in the workforce could either serve as a great equalizer or further exacerbate existing inequalities. Active measures are needed to ensure that the benefits of AI wealth creation are accessible to all, closing the wealth gap rather than expanding it.

Commuters at a train station boarding and disembarking a New Jersey Transit train. The train's door is open, and passengers are stepping onto the platform. A digital sign above displays information about the service. The train car is marked with the number '7717' and the American flag.


Summary: Despite the growing preference for remote work, company leaders are doubling down on return-to-office (RTO) mandates in 2024, with plans to closely monitor office attendance and implement both incentives and penalties to ensure compliance.

The Details:

  • Attendance Tracking: Companies are adopting various methods to track attendance, including badge swipes, manual tracking, wi-fi usage, and occupancy sensors.

  • Productivity and Culture: Executives believe that RTO mandates will boost productivity and improve workplace culture.

  • Incentives and Consequences: While offering perks like happy hours and upgraded office spaces, companies are also threatening to cut bonuses, reduce salaries, and even fire employees who don't meet RTO requirements.

  • Work-Life Balance: Experts note that workers prioritize compensation and work-life balance over after-hours office events, signaling a shift from past attitudes towards office networking.

Why is this relevant: This push for RTO reflects a significant disconnect between employee desires for flexibility and the traditional workplace values held by many corporate leaders. The insistence on RTO may ultimately affect employee morale, retention, and the overall company culture, especially as the labor market continues to evolve and the demand for work-life balance becomes increasingly prominent.

A man with graying hair, wearing a dark suit and white shirt, gestures with his hands while speaking. He appears to be mid-conversation, possibly explaining or emphasizing a point, in an office setting with framed items on the wall behind him.


Summary: The anti-DEI movement has gained momentum, challenging diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within corporate America and beyond, despite these initiatives being central to addressing systemic inequalities.

The Details:

  • Growing Opposition: Anti-DEI sentiments have intensified, with figures like Bill Ackman advocating against DEI efforts, suggesting they contribute to societal issues.

  • Long-term Efforts: Activists like Edward Blum have spent decades opposing affirmative action and other diversity initiatives, framing them as discriminatory.

  • Misunderstood Intentions: The goals of DEI are often misrepresented, leading to mainstream skepticism about the movement's methods and results.

  • Challenges for DEI Advocates: There's a need for DEI supporters to engage in open dialogue, allowing space for questions and understanding, rather than asserting moral authority.

  • Reframing the Narrative: Advocates must clarify what DEI actually entails: inclusive cultures, equitable systems, and diverse communities that benefit everyone.

Why is this relevant: The shift in perception of DEI highlights a critical juncture for corporate America in its efforts to create fair and inclusive workplaces. The success of DEI initiatives will depend on the ability to communicate their true purpose, combat misinformation, and find common ground with those who are open to understanding and supporting these values. As new generations enter the workforce, the manner in which DEI is presented and understood will shape the future of corporate culture and societal norms.

A few other developments…👇🏾

Until later,

This newsletter is co-curated by Nico Escobar. Need virtual coordination? Social media management? Content creation? Reach out to her!

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