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OLLI and Riley Institute present series, Crisis of the Working Poor

SummerSeries2014WorkingPoor2The Riley Institute and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman University present Straight Talk SC, their fourth annual weekly series. This year’s series, “Can’t Win for Losing: The Crisis of the Working Poor,” takes place consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Younts Conference Center on the Furman University campus.

For Straight Talk SC 2014, OLLI @ Furman and the Riley Institute have tapped leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors to address one of the more pressing social and economic issues of our time. Wrapping up the final segment (Aug. 12) is Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal who will discuss why paying a living wage is good for business and the economy.

Offering welcoming remarks, Furman President Elizabeth Davis will open the series July 22 which begins with the program, “Who in South Carolina Gets to Live the American Dream?” Jessica Hennessey, Ph.D., Furman University Assistant Professor of Economics, will lead the session which examines the working poor and how federal policies impact these families.

Also in the July 22 program, South Carolina State Representatives Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-District 66) and Kenny Bingham (R-District 89) will have a conversation with Mark Quinn, Director of Member and Public Relations, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, and former host of SCETV’s Big Picture about our state government’s role in improving the plight of the working poor.

The remaining three sessions examine life ‘on the brink’ and paths to economic mobility:

July 29: Questioning the American Dream: Families and Neighbors Living on the Brink

Kyle Longest, Ph.D., Furman University Assistant Professor of Sociology leads an interactive session in which he examines the bills, dollars and pennies of a family who is “barely getting by in South Carolina.” Danny Avula, M.D., Deputy Director of the Richmond City Health Department presents what he has discovered during the last decade as his family has lived in intentional community with neighbors very different from themselves.

August 5: Chasing the American Dream: What Does It Take to Climb the Income Ladder?

Sarah Sattelmeyer, Senior Associate, Financial Security and Mobility, Pew Charitable Trusts gives an overview of U.S. economic mobility, and presents research about factors which drive it. Tammi Hart, Executive Assistant, Day and Zimmerman, and Dawn Dowden, Vice President of Operations, Homes of Hope, will share real life experiences of poverty and economic mobility.

August 12: Revitalizing the American Dream

Former Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet and Carol Naughton, Senior Vice President, Purpose Built Communities, discuss how cities play a role in improving the lives of the working poor.

Following their talk, Mark Quinn hosts a roundtable discussion with Bill Barnet; Curt McPhail, Northside Initiative Project Manager; Russell Booker, Superintendent of Education, Spartanburg District 7; Tony Thomas, President, Northside Neighborhood Association, and Phil Feisal, President, Spartanburg Medical Center, about the collective vision and committed partnership that is revitalizing Spartanburg’s Northside.

Jim Sinegal, cofounder and former CEO of Costco Corporation, provides a business leader’s perspective on why paying good wages is good for business and good for the economy.

All sessions are open to the public. The cost for all four events is $45 ($35 for OLLI members), or $15 per single event. For more information about the series, follow the link found here. Or contact OLLI at (864) 294-2998. For speaker bios, follow this link. To register for all or part of the series, use this link.

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