Special to T&D
COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has awarded six South Carolina companies its Excellence in Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Award.
These companies – Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, Boeing, Dominion Energy, UPS and Wells Fargo – have each invested in programs or initiatives that inspire progress towards diversity, inclusion and well- be economical for all.
The accolades were presented at the annual chamber summit on November 2.
Bank of America has committed $ 1.25 million to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. Its Pathways from Prison program at Claflin University allows inmates to receive federal funding to enroll in post-secondary programs offered by local colleges and universities or through distance learning.
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Bank of America has also committed $ 500,000 to the Minority Business Accelerator, which supports high potential minority-owned businesses by providing targeted training, access to business coaches and access to large corporations.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC is committed to funding the state’s five historically black, four-year private colleges and universities to meet immediate financial needs. These schools are Allen University and Benedict College, both in Colombia; Claflin in Orangebourg; Morris College in Sumter; and Voorhees College in Denmark.
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Boeing recently donated $ 1.5 million to Allen University’s Civil Debate Hall. Boeing’s investment in diversity also includes the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the largest organization in the country exclusively representing the black academic community.
Dominion Energy supports HBCUs with $ 35 million in contributions to 11 institutions. The company also supports the annual African American History Calendar and Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as sponsoring a student writing competition celebrating South Carolina’s African American notables.
UPS has taken concrete steps to advance equity, including the creation of the UPS Equity, Justice and Action Task Force, whose leadership has helped advance efforts, including training in unconscious bias, fostering voter engagement and facilitating voter access to polling stations, leading advocacy efforts to ensure the passage of hate crimes legislation in all 50 states, working to grow businesses owned by black people through strategic investments and partnerships and the promotion of pay equity. The company recently refocused its efforts to advance diversity and inclusion with the rallying cry “You belong to UPS”.
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Wells Fargo recently launched the Banking Inclusion Initiative, a 10-year commitment to help unbanked individuals and communities – in particular, helping remove barriers to financial inclusion for Black and African American, Hispanic and Native American / Alaska Native – who make up more than half of the seven million unbanked American households. The initiative will also help underbanked or underserved people, people who can have a bank account while still using high-cost non-bank services. Overall, the initiative focuses on access to affordable digital products and solutions, financial education and advice, and the launch of the National Advisory Working Group on the Unbanked.