A First Look: The White House Summit On Working Families, Monday June 23rd, 2014.










Monday: Join the conversation on working families


The modern family looks different than it has before. More parents are working, and nearly a third of families with children are single-parent families.


It’s not 1960 anymore, but you could be forgiven for thinking our workplaces still feel like it: Most moms and dads don’t have access to paid leave or a flexible workplace.


It’s time for workplace policies that match our reality — and give all of us the best chance to succeed at work and at home. So tomorrow we’re hosting an online conversation on working families and the 21st-century workplace.


Live from the Working Families Summit



If this is an issue that matters to you, tune in to WorkingFamiliesSummit.org starting at 9 a.m. ET tomorrow to join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden in this important conversation.




The White House Summit on Working Families: Addressing The Needs Of Working Families In America.


Addressing the Needs of Working Families in Rural America



This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.


Krysta Harden is Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


You can learn more about the Summit and how you can get involved at www.workingfamiliessummit.org.



Last Wednesday, I participated in a regional forum of the White House Working Families Summit that was held at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. Coming from a small town in Southwest Georgia myself, I can relate to the unique challenges that rural Americans face. Growing up, my father worked seven days a week on our peanut and cattle farm with help from my mother. To make sure our family had a constant source of income and health insurance, my mother also worked off the farm at the local independent bank. I am fortunate to be the product of hard working parents who provided my sister and me with the best opportunities possible.


All families have a right to have access to a good education system, affordable healthcare and jobs. Our rural families are concerned about creating strong prospects for their children, whether it is on or off the farm. But it is also essential that there are opportunities that will attract young people back to rural areas and help us secure the future of agriculture.




The Obama Administration is committed to providing opportunities for working families across the country. That’s why earlier this year President Obama created the Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new markets abroad.


In rural America, transportation and market access issues create complex challenges for working families. During the summit, I spoke with Maxine Ayers, legal assistant by day and partner in a seven-generation family farm by night. Maxine is working hard to help prepare her son to take over the family farm. In addition to working her job and taking care of the farm, she is also responsible for her in-laws’ medical care and must regularly drive two hours to get her in-laws the care they need. I also spoke with Dee Dee Darden, owner of a country store and farmer, who faces similar rural transportation hurdles. On top of running her store and farm, she must drive three to four hours to sell her livestock. While transportation issues are still a challenge, USDA brings economic opportunities to rural communities through programs such as the Rural Community Development Initiative and Rural Business Opportunity Grants.


There are many ways that USDA is working to create opportunities in rural areas. First, we work to address issues of access and quality of life through efforts like Rural Development’s community facilities and broadband programs. Second, we support new markets for farm and ranch products, at home and abroad. Whether it’s promoting international trade, bringing products to local and regional markets or supporting the bio-based economy, USDA programs help expand opportunities for rural businesses to thrive. Third, your local USDA office can help you find programs for your community, your business and your family.


In the United States, there are twice as many farmers that are ages 65 or older than those ages 45 or younger. As our aging farmers transition to retirement, it is crucial that we determine who the next generation of farmers and ranchers will be. It is easy to forget that one percent of the population is responsible for feeding the entire country and much of the world.


Young, talented rural leaders are needed to help us tackle challenges like climate change, food security and the overall health of our economy. It was so promising to see college students in the audience who were passionate about farming and rural America. Whether it is their local FFA or 4-H chapter or serving in student government, I always encourage young folks to get involved in their local communities.


I am proud to be from rural America, and I know that others feel the same sense of community that I do, but there are many challenges that rural residents face. Folks in rural America have an unparalleled amount of drive and passion that makes their communities a vibrant place to live. At USDA, we will continue to do everything we can to help working families succeed for generations to come.



Related links:







On June 23, 2014, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Center for American Progress (CAP) will host a Summit on Working Families to focus on creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans. Workplaces that make full use of the talented pool of American workers are essential – to a thriving and healthy economy, to enable businesses to stay competitive in today’s global economy, and to help all workers ensure the economic stability of their families.


Too many working Americans – both women and men – are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet and respond to the competing demands of work and family. We will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, policymakers, advocates, and ordinary citizens to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the coming decades.






Please Join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House Summit on Working Families.


The summit is co-hosted by the Center for American Progress and the U.S. Department of Labor.










  • 9:20 AM – 10:40 AM:FIRST PLENARY: Family matters


  • 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM:For Online Audience only: HuffPost Live, Family Matters Panel


  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM:BREAKOUT 1: Hourly workers
  • BREAKOUT 2: Compensation
    BREAKOUT 3: Evaluation and assessment tools
    BREAKOUT 4: Young women leaders


  • 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM:For Online Audience only: HuffPost Live, The Business Case Panel


  • 12:30 PM – 3:00 PM:SECOND PLENARY: A 21st century economy that works for business and workers


  • 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM:For Online Audience only: HuffPost Live, Career Ladders and Leadership Panel
  • 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM:BREAKOUT 1: Talent attraction and retention
    BREAKOUT 2: Structure of the workplace
    BREAKOUT 3: Caregiving
    BREAKOUT 4: STEM and nontraditional jobs


  • 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM:THIRD PLENARY: Career ladders and leadership


  • 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM:CLOSING




Women make up

nearly half of our workforce.

Fact #2


On average women still

earn 77 cents for every

dollar earned by men,

and women of color earn even less.

Fact #2


Working married women

bring home 44% of their

families income

Fact #2


African-American women

are paid only 64 cents,

and Hispanic women

only 54 cents, for

every dollar paid to

white, non-Hispanic men.

Fact #3

3 IN 5

In almost 3 out of 5

married families

with children,

both parents work.

In 2/3 of families all parents work


Women earn 59%

of all higher

education degrees.

In 2/3 of families all parents work
All working families 

deserve the chance to

succeed in our economy.

More than ever, ensuring

the success of women and

working families will

enhance the success of

our economy, our workplaces,

and our most vulnerable

citizens. The White House

Summit on Working Families

will elevate these issues in

the national debate and

explore how we can create

an economy that works

for all Americans.






The event will be streamed with special material for an online audience. Please check WORKING FAMILIES for updates.









A New Jersey Dad’s Story: Why we Need Paid Leave




















Live from the Working Families Summit







9 replies »

  1. You know this is one I am interested in. I am going to continue to track it through you and other places. I am glad you are posting and have brought it forward. I am also pleased to see this Administration, our President and the First Lady making it such a high priority.

    (love the new background, once again)


  2. We have the right wing and the greed mongers of the corporatocracy to thank for the current workplace situation. These evil compatriots in economic disaster want the American Workforce to be reduced to the level of workers in the Third World – – and it is all because people tend to vote against their own best interests and allow Republicans to continue on their quest to convert America into a religious-based plutocratic oligarchy where there are only two classes of people – – the elite who are served and the rest who will be serfs. You get what you vote for and the answer to the problem is to decimate the right wing at the voting booth . . . American Conservatism has long since served its purpose and is now not only irrelevant but downright dangerous to the democratic ideal.


    • You are 5000% correct, if we don’t change things using the voting booth, we send a message that we like things as they are.


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