As part of President Barack Obama ongoing jobs agenda and bolstering the middle class, the Administration has been hosting as series of events leading up the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families to be held later this month. NewsOne was on hand Tuesday for a media roundtable briefing of the Summit, with key White House officials laying out the details.
The senior administration officials unveiled key economic and data points in addressing the needs of middle-class families and those struggling to achieve work-life balance. The Summit, as mentioned by the officials, is all part of President Obama’s “Year Of Action,” where he has promised to use his pen and his phone to push forward on issues that concern the growing needs of Americans.
The officials also noted that the the 21st Century workforce ideals differ greatly from times past. Increasing the need for workplace fairness, benefits that help, and equal pay between the genders play a role in how development in this arena is currently playing out. The President has not been shy in promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in today’s classroom, with the idea this will be the arena where the top jobs are created. The Summit will examine the viability of STEM and also look at other industries to see where development needs to occur.
The officials also shared a number of best practices businesses and organizations can apply to retain experienced and valuable employees. Workers from both genders say they need to earn more, and it is proven that fair compensation promotes productivity. These workers have also said they would desire greater work-family balance. One official was especially candid and shared a story of how she handled single motherhood and balanced her career. The official said that she was fortunate to have an employer that was sympathetic to her responsibilities as a parent.
This story led to another official adding that both men and women say that they want more time with their children and chose jobs that support the strengthening of families while also allowing a space for career ascension for these individuals. With the advent of a June 9th “Working Fathers” event at the White House, NewsOne inquired more about the data and studies conducted to assess how men are looking at work-family balance as well.
The officials confirmed that men are coming forward in a way like never before, with some male workers asking for longer paternity leave as to support their spouses and children during infancy. One official remarked that it was customary for some men to shun the idea of paternity leave and it created a custom where this group wouldn’t take the time off. This trend has been slow in reversal they say, and it signals the changing of the times. Race was not a common topic at the briefing, although one official said that there are some slow growth in certain office cultures that will have an effect on people of color.
The White House Summit on Working Families will take place on June 23 in Washington, D.C., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and will be hosted by President Obama. Ahead of that major event, the aforementioned “Working Fathers” event takes place on June 9th.
On June 11th, the USDA Regional Forum on Rural Issues and Working Families will be held in Petersburg, Va.