college_graduates_-_commencement.jpgBlack Enterprise, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is pleased to present “Today’s Business Crisis: Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce,” on Wednesday at Carnesale Commons on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles.

The symposium, which will focus on solutions to the growing crisis of college affordability, is part of a series aimed to cultivate a conversation between top leaders in business, philanthropy and education about the critical challenges facing the American K-12 and postsecondary educational system. The symposium series has been held in Memphis, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

“It is imperative that business leaders’ partner with the academic community to ensure that our schools are producing graduates with the skills we desire for our businesses to remain competitive in this global economy,” says Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., President and CEO, Black Enterprise. “Black Enterprise has addressed the crisis of college affordability as a major barrier to opportunities for students to gain the necessary preparation and education to lead productive lives. We are proud to have the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase the focus on solutions that can ultimately resolve this crisis; and that cannot be successfully executed without business leaders being fully committed to reform education and to make college more affordable.”

The Black Enterprise “Today’s Business Crisis” symposium will focus on the obligations and responsibilities for business leaders, politicians and policy makers on the development of comprehensive education reform that will engage students and prepare them for the 21st century workforce.

Symposium speakers will also focus on how business leaders, policy makers and civic organizations can make postsecondary education more affordable so students can enter and complete college as well as manage debt upon graduation. Film, television and entertainment industry notables who are active on the issue of improving access to educational opportunity, including Robert Townsend, Lamman Rucker and Jeff Friday, will also participate in the Los Angeles symposium.

The Los Angeles symposium is open to the general public. To RSVP, click on the following link:




Today’s Business Crisis: Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce




Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | Time: 2:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.




UCLA Campus




Carnesale Commons, Palisades Conference Room




251 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles




Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Professor of Law, UCLA and Columbia University

Gene Wade, Founder & CEO, UniversityNOW

Confirmed Speakers

Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder & CEO, Act-1 Group

Deborah Santiago, COO & Director of Research, Excelencia In Education

Robert Townsend, Actor, Filmmaker, Comedian and Producer

Audrey E. Dow, Community Affairs Director, The Campaign for College Opportunity

Blair Taylor, Chief Community Officer, Starbucks

Jeff Friday, Founder & CEO, Film Life/American Black Film Festival

Lamman Rucker, Actor/Co-Founder, The Black Gents

J. Mathew Yohannan, Advisor, SOFI (Social Finance)

Tamika Butler, California Director, Young Invincibles

Mario Middleton, National Director, University of Phoenix

Joe Scantlebury, Senior Policy Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Earl “Butch” Graves, President/CEO, BLACK ENTERPRISE

Derek Dingle, SVP/Editor-in-Chief, BLACK ENTERPRISE


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