Texas Pastor T.D. Jakes announced a new foundation Tuesday morning that will offer job training and classes at all levels in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The pastor, who presides over a congregation of 30,000 in Dallas, hopes to use the foundation to increase the number of minorities working in STEM fields.
"STEM is a very important part of the future," Jakes said on "CBS This Morning." "We're at 8% unemployment in the African-American community. We are projected to be at 20% unemployment if nobody does anything."
Currently black people represent about 9% of the workforce in STEM fields and Hispanics represent about 7%, according to the Pew Research Center.
Asked why there will also be a focus on the arts, Jakes said arts will be used as "an enticement."
"The latest stats say that the arts cause inner-city kids to become interested in technology," he said. "Maybe I want to be a producer, maybe I want to do something in film, and so I start fooling around on the computer trying to edit. But, it is a gateway through which we can begin to discover the amazing worlds of technology."
Jakes said he believes he is in a unique position to connect his community to educational programs that they may not hear about otherwise.
"I want to connect the service providers with the people who are in need because I have one foot in the corporate world and one foot in the community in a very unique way," he said.
The pastor added that the T.D. Jakes Foundation won't stop at job training.
"It also includes workforce housing because in most of our metropolitan major city areas, the cost of living has gotten — you cannot afford to live there," he said. "Imagine being a police officer or a nurse who is serving the city you can't afford to live in. We have to fix that."