5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: March 23

As the saying goes, the news never stops. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories impacting American workplaces and communities.

1. Demand for Tech Talent Still Exceeds Supply Despite Widespread Job Losses

Despite the large wave of layoffs in the tech industry, the demand for technology talent still significantly exceeds supply.

A survey from Gartner revealed that 86% of Chief Information Officers reported more competition for qualified candidates and 73% were worried about IT talent attrition. Although 150,000 global tech jobs have been lost this year due to layoffs by tech giants, Gartner found that the loss was not only confined to tech jobs, it affected business professional roles as well.

Tech skills in application development, AI and machine learning, software engineering and enterprise cloud architecture remained hard to find. Gartner recommends that companies double down on their retention strategies because the top tech talent is still in high demand, and compensation remains the number one attraction and acquisition driver.

Subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to read “How Tech Company Layoffs Have Widened the Employment Gap for Women and People of Color.”

2. Ramadan Starts This Week

Ramadan, or the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is expected to start today with the sighting of the crescent moon, marking a month of fasting, prayer, community and reflection. The holy month is expected to end on April 21, 22 or 23, when the crescent moon is sighted in Mecca.

The Islamic faith is the second-largest religion in the world, behind Christianity. Today, 3.5 million Muslims live in the United States, and the number is expected to grow by 2040, making Islam the second-largest religion in the country.

Check back to DiversityInc on Monday to read our full Ramadan basics guide for employers. In the meantime, subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to read through these other Ramadan tools:

3. Biden-Harris Administration Announces $73 Million in Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grants

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced $73 million in Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grants to help more Americans sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and lower the cost of high-speed internet.

The ACP is the largest internet affordability program in U.S. history, providing eligible households up to $30/month off internet bills and a one-time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. The outreach grants will be used to promote the ACP and enroll households, focusing on historically underserved communities, including those on Tribal lands. The grants will fund digital campaigns, door-to-door canvassing, phone banks, direct mail and outreach events. The program has already helped 16 million households save over $500 million per month on high-speed internet, and the new funding will help even more households access affordable, reliable internet.

AT&T (a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company) is an example of a company that is working on expanding internet connectivity for all. In a recent interview as part of our recurring CDO series, Michelle Jordan, Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T, said she “looks forward to addressing the digital divide” in her tenure.

“When there are limits to digital access, people are cut off from their potential before they’ve even had the opportunity to fully explore it,” she said. “It’s like planting a seed but not watering it fully. The odds of it growing and thriving are limited. Students, would-be entrepreneurs, and business owners alike, currently living in the digital divide or that gap between those who can fully participate in the modern online world and those who cannot, are all impacted by one or more issues around access, affordability and adoption.”

4. Applications Open for Kaiser Permanente’s 2023 Healthcare Equity Award

Kaiser Permanente (a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company) and The Joint Commission have opened applications for the 2023 Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity.

The award recognizes healthcare organizations that have made a measurable and sustained reduction in at least one healthcare disparity. All types of healthcare organizations that have addressed disparities for vulnerable populations may apply, and there is no cost to apply.

The award provides national recognition and the opportunity to share best practices with other healthcare organizations. The application period runs from March 15 to May 10.

5. Sanofi-Regeneron Stocks Skyrocket Following Successful Dupixent COPD Trial

Sanofi (No. 25 on DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced positive results from their Phase 3 trial of Dupixent (dupilumab) for uncontrolled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The drug demonstrated a 30% reduction in moderate or severe acute exacerbations compared to the placebo, along with improved lung function, COPD respiratory symptoms and quality of life.

Sanofi’s decision to skip earlier-stage clinical trials for COPD had cut down the development time. The full efficacy and safety results of the drug will be presented at a future scientific forum, according to the companies. A second replicate Phase 3 trial of the drug in COPD is ongoing, and Sanofi and Regeneron expect to have data from it in 2024.

Dupixent could be the first new COPD treatment in over 10 years. As a result of this success, SNY and REGN stocks traded higher, up 6.46% and 6.48%, respectively, during the premarket session.

Subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to read “Expanding Racial and Ethnic Participation in Clinical Trials Key to Health Equity.”


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