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JoAnna_CheathamA UT social work associate director will share the university’s successes in uplifting and supporting the state’s families during a White House summit in Washington, DC, next week.

JoAnna Cheatham, associate director of the Office of Research and Public Service in the College of Social Work, will participate in the White House Summit on Working Families, a one-day, invitation-only meeting on Monday, June 23, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend the summit, which will focus on workplace flexibility, equal pay, workplace discrimination, worker retention and promotion, and child care and early childhood education. The goal will be to set an agenda for a twenty-first-century workplace that benefits all Americans so the country remains competitive in a global economy.

The White House, the US Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress are sponsoring the meeting.

“I’m very, very excited about participating in the event, and I’m looking forward to sharing the work the College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service has done to support Tennessee’s working families over the past twenty-plus years,” Cheatham said. “On my application, I stressed our involvement with the state’s child care Report Card Program and Families First, Tennessee’s welfare-to-work program. I hope to share our experiences and the outcomes we’ve helped families achieve and to learn more about what others are doing to support working families across the country.”

Participants were selected from a pool of applicants who either applied or were nominated. The summit will convene businesspeople, economists, labor leaders, legislators, advocates, educators, and the media for a discussion on issues facing working families—from low-wage workers to corporate executives and from parents caring for their children to adult children caring for aging parents.

The summit will explore the changing demographics of the American workforce and how to ensure workers adapt successfully in a way that will benefit them and businesses. It also will examine challenges facing working families and push for policies to support those families.

To learn more about the summit, visit the website.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,