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Ivy Tech convocation focuses on hard work, perseverance


As a young single mother, Urban League of Northwest Indiana President Vanessa Allen-McCloud often did her college homework next to her two daughters at the table.

For nearly three decades while pursuing advanced degrees, there were struggles familiar to working adults: juggling full-time jobs, family emergencies, childcare.

But, she persevered — rising from a college freshman in her mid-20s at Purdue UniversityCalumet in 1986 to doctoral degree recipient at another university in 2013.

What helped were a cadre of professors, mentors and advisers that extended the kindness and encouragement she needed to overcome challenges, she said.

At Ivy Tech’s initial employee convocation held Thursday at Indiana UniversityNorthwest’s new joint Arts and Sciences Building in Gary, she encouraged a few hundred employees there to do the same for their own students.

“Your mentor comes in all shapes and sizes,” Allen-McCloud said. “Get to know who is coming into your presence, because, you never know how you may mold and shape them.”

As she earned more degrees, Allen-McCloud went on to work as an administrator at Purdue Calumet, South Suburban College and Gary Community School Corp., she said.

“Now, I’m in the position to say, ‘I see something in you (to students),’” she said.

While seeking her first associate’s degree at Purdue Calumet in the 1980s, “my children grew up on the campus,” she said. “They were running around at the student library.”

Her oldest daughter graduated from West Side High School in 1999 and attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where she now works for the university, Allen-McCloud said. Her younger daughter eventually earned a degree in electrical engineering, she said.

She fondly recalled officials during those years that encouraged her to apply to college and keep going.

One professor encouraged her to bring her daughters to class when she had no baby sitter, she said. When she showed up and tried to sit quietly near the back of the class, he welcomed her to move closer to the front, she said.

“That’s the spirit of compassion that I want you to have,” she said. “When they set foot on your campus, take a moment to get to know that person. You never know what they will become.”

The event also included appearances from Indiana University Northwest Chancelor William Lowe, updates from Ivy Tech Vice Chancelors Margaret Semmer, Mo Vincic and Keisha White.

Ivy Tech Lake County President Louie Gonzalez also gave a speech on the Lake County campus’ plans before employees ended the day in Crown Point with a picnic and other activities.

Earlier this year, Ivy Tech announced it would close its Gary campus at 1440 E. 35th Ave. and relocate students to the new Broadway building to help cut a $2 million budget deficit. It plans to shift its trades program to the Gary Area Career Center.

Gonzalez said previously he signed a $17 million long-term lease with IUN for 38 percent of the space in the new $45 million Arts and Sciences building that opened in August at 35th Avenue and Broadway.

When the new Arts and Sciences building opened last year, Ivy Tech already had about 900 students there taking courses. Originally, officials said the building would be shared by both schools, with Ivy Tech using about 30 percent of the new building for classes.




New Chapter of the Ten Point Coalition


CAPTION:  The Attorney General Curtis Hill joins Gary leaders to announce the new chapter of the Ten Point Coalition. This is a faith based led initiative that focuses on boots-on-the ground approach to making neighborhoods safer one street at a time.

Please click here to review the pictures.

 



Dr. Vanessa Allen McCloud facilitated the 2018 Indiana Library Association Northwest Regional Conference



“Diversity and Inclusion – Courageous Conversations”


Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud,

President and CEO, Urban League of Northwest Indiana

 

Sometimes we can feel that we are up against impossible odds.  The challenges of racial and economic injustices, the difficulty many find moving forward on the path to equality and the resistance we see on a national level to policies leading to the “greater good” can leave us wondering about the future of our region and our nation.

A profound and relevant response to these challenges is to see new possibilities that can arise out of diversity and inclusion practices.  This year at our Diversity and Inclusion Symposium we took on employer issues such as doing business with the State of Indiana and creating supplier diversity.  But we also tackled the harder conversations about race, privilege, power and identity.  We believe that silence is not an option, especially when so much is at stake.

The Urban League event was held on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at Purdue University Northwest.  As Urban League President and CEO, I am proud to say that ours is the only region-wide symposium that focuses on these issues within Northwest Indiana.

The morning began with a panel of State and Local executives who provided information on diversity and inclusion as it relates to job training requirements, heavy highway jobs, construction, women and minority certification, and trades union job opportunities. Other collaborative panelists included NAACP President Steve Mays and the Indiana Human Right Commission Executive Director Haneefah Khaaliq.

We then introduced a number of innovative break-out sessions whereby participants were able to discuss the realities of uncivil behavior, racism, privilege and inequality in a safe and non-threatening environment.

We believe that information and conversation are crucial elements in bringing about new understandings among employers and people in the workforce.  Therefore, every year, through this event, we rededicate ourselves to our goals of knocking down barriers and opening doors to equality and prosperity by providing strategies to overcome these barriers.

As follow up to the symposium, on March 22nd, 2018, the Urban League’s Diversity and Inclusion luncheon will acknowledge the achievements of local organizations that promote diversity and inclusion.

Business and surrounding area organizations are encouraged to apply for a diversity and inclusion award. Awards will be presented at the luncheon. For more information on submitting an award application, visit the website at www.ulofnwi.org . For questions, phone the Urban League offices at (219) 887-9621.





       
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