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Regional Higher Education Economic Summit To Improve Lives; Aimed At Creating Pathways To Economic, Social Mobility

DETROIT, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A regional economic summit " Towards New Geographies of Opportunity in Education," convened last week in Detroit at the Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) downtown campus with nationally prominent thought leaders on the pivotal role played by educators, social advocates and policymakers in local and national efforts to create skills, jobs and opportunities for communities. 

Opportunity Nation is a national program and campaign to increase economic opportunities and mobility – led by Time magazine, United Way, AARP, the Ford Foundation and a broad coalition of nearly 200 businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and military organizations.  WCCCD is one of only 12 national summits, and the only college in the Midwest, selected by the Opportunity Nation Higher Education Council to "highlight the bright spots of opportunity that are our nation's colleges and universities."

WCCCD's conference considered the pivotal role educators, advocates, and policymakers can play in the development of a local and national agenda responding to the collateral forces of educational inequality, racial segregation, and concentrated poverty that continue to impede economic opportunity and undermine the very ideals of democracy upon which the nation was founded.

The conference featured panels on the education and economic inequality in an age of multiracial democracy; a discussion of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have impacted efforts to integrate public schools, including the pending Supreme Court case, Fisher V. University of Texas , which many legal experts are predicting will end affirmative action in higher education; and social and institutional responses to segregation in public education and related public policy initiatives. Kevin Jennings, CEO, Opportunity Nation and the former assistant deputy of the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama Administration keynoted the event.

The conference was presented by WCCCD and Opportunity Nation as part of a national set of conferences to help create a shared, bipartisan plan of real-world strategies to increase opportunities with the overall aim of creating pathways to economic mobility for communities across the nation.

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