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T.D. Jakes has launched a foundation to help bring greater diversity and inclusion to the science, technology, the arts, engineering, math (STEAM) workforce. The evangelist aims to provide job training and workforce preparedness. The foundation’s goal is to connect corporations to new, highly skilled pools of talent.

According to the statement, Jakes is building on his decades of work serving the community through programs like the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.), which has received federal, state, city and community awards for its success in preparing former inmates convicted of non-violent crimes for the workforce, and a conference focused on female empowerment.

“Throughout my life, I’ve had the great fortune to work closely with so many different communities,” said Jakes, who will serve as Chairman of the Board. “I hope that, through this foundation, I can build bonds and create connections between businesses and people from different backgrounds—so that every person—regardless of age, race, gender or ethnicity—can achieve their full potential. This isn’t just about creating opportunity for tomorrow, next week or next month. This is about creating generational change—work that will continue for decades to come.”

The T.D. Jakes Foundation will focus on developing the future workforce through programs like STEAMLife, a summer camp program that exposes students, ages 5 to 16, to hands-on projects, centers to bring people together to provide a wealth of services, education and life skills, including financial literacy, apprenticeships and more.

“Increasing diversity and inclusion, and gender equity, in the workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a business imperative,” said Hattie Hill, president and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation. “For companies to win the war for talent, they must bring in people with new and different perspectives. In 30-plus years of global experience, I’ve seen that a business’ competitiveness is directly linked to its culture and people.”

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