Just a few months after President Barack Obama visited Valencia College to launch a new initiative focused on women’s economic issues, five women leaders—including a student—from the college have been invited to continue that conversation at the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23.
Attendees from around the country are expected at the one-day summit, including leaders from business and academia, legislators, policy experts, advocates and ordinary citizens. Representing Valencia will be Amy Bosley, vice president of Organizational Development and Human Resources; Kathleen Plinske, president of the Osceola and Lake Nona campuses; Falecia Williams, president of the West Campus; Lisa Macon, dean of Engineering, Computer Programming and Technology; and Alexandrea Castro, a Valencia student from Poinciana.
The summit will be hosted by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden, and cohosted by the Center for American Progress and the Department of Labor. It will include a mix of panel discussions aimed at identifying concrete policy solutions, showcasing employer best practices, and discussing the positive impact potential policies can have on businesses’ bottom lines, as well as for the overall economy.
On March 18, Obama gave a speech at Valencia’s West Campus to kick off a series of five regional forums on women’s issues culminating in the June 23 summit. It was no coincidence that Obama chose Valencia for his visit: In 2011, Valencia was the first winner of the Aspen Prize, a national competition that President Obama announced to recognize exceptional community colleges.
Women make up 56 percent of the 70,000 students whom Valencia serves. Graduates of Valencia’s Associate in Science degree programs have a 95 percent placement rate with average starting salaries of $38,000.
As Central Florida tries to rebound from the recession, the unemployment rate remains at 6.4 percent. According to U.S. Census data, median earnings for women who completed high school but not college are just $21,342 (Community Survey, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area, 2012).
The summit will be streamed from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at http://workingfamiliessummit.org/.