Tomorrow's Talent speakers tackle issues of youth empowerment and inequality


On Friday, a diverse group of speakers from the Louisville region and beyond took the stage at the Muhammad Ali Center to comment on a variety of challenges facing our community, including racial and economic inequality, youth violence, and access to higher education. The event, Tomorrow's Talent, was the latest iteration of a yearly summit hosted by KentuckianaWorks, 55,000 Degrees, and Greater Louisville Inc. You can view the full agenda here

Inequality is no one’s fault, but everyone’s responsibility.
— Richard V. Reeves, Brookings Institution

The first keynote speaker, Richard V. Reeves, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, provided a compelling, data-driven overview of inequality in America and made a case for those who are doing quite well to reconsider the ways in which they're preparing the next generation so the gap between rich and poor does not continue to widen. 

Anthony Smith, Executive Director of Cities United, gave the 2nd keynote address, which focused on how working toward justice for our struggling neighborhoods and populations in Louisville will be more effective than merely providing charity. Smith challenged audience members, which included many nonprofit, business, and government leaders, to get to know the places and people they seek to help before devising plans on how to create positive change.

Michael Gritton, Executive Director of KentuckianaWorks, spoke about Louisville's expanding efforts to boost youth employment through the SummerWorks program. Insider Louisville published a follow-up piece on this topic titled "Louisville youth employment outpacing national average". Mary Gwen Wheeler, Executive Director of 55,000 Degrees, presented findings from their recent report on college cost and affordability. Insider also covered this story: "College education becoming more important, less affordable". 


Dr. Marty Polio, Acting Superintendent for JCPS, gave an update on the development of the new Academies of Louisville initiative and talked about why it could be a game-changer for preparing the community's youth for quality careers. 

Other speakers included Kim Moore, a case manager for the new Reimage program to assist youth who have been in the court system, Gill Holland of the Portland Investment Initiative, and Khaled Alsabbagh, a JCPS student who told the story of escaping war-torn Syria and adapting to life in the United States. You can read more of Khaled's story here.     

Mayor Greg Fischer closed the day out with a message about how empowering and educating our youth isn't simply a moral imperative, but also a social and economic one. Fischer explained that the peacefulness, safety, and economic health of the city depend on our willingness to address injustices and invest in the next generation. 

Tomorrows Talent was sponsored by Chase and UPS. You can view photos from the event below.