Supporting Career Advancement and Gender Equity in the Workforce

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Inforum, a statewide organization focused on the professional growth of women, recently announced a new West Michigan scholarship program to help reduce the financial burden for women in the workforce seeking skill development. The scholarship will be funded in part by Inforum, as well as local businesses and individuals committed to gender balance in corporate leadership.

The scholarship is especially significant for women of color, who continue to be overlooked for leadership positions. Inforum's Women's Leadership in Michigan Public Companies 2022 report found that only 20% of Michigan public company executive officers are women and only 2.6% are women of color.

"The Inforum Scholarship will provide access to professional development programs that help to accelerate careers for women and boost the talent pool for the community's businesses—a core mission of Inforum," said Becky Puckett-Wood, Vice President, Corporate and Member Engagement. "Without scholarships, this access is not available to all individuals in our community seeking to enhance their skill sets and career."

According to the 2021 Lean in /McKinsey Women in the Workplace Report, women continue to be promoted to manager at far lower rates than men in publicly traded companies, and women of color lose ground at every level from entry to C-suite. As a result, gains have been greater in the C-suite and on boards than at lower levels, and they have benefited white women more than women of color. Inforum says this is why a greater focus on equity throughout the talent pipeline is called for.

"We know there is a significant need to support women throughout their leadership journey," said Terry Barclay, President & CEO of Inforum. "Inforum will continue to advocate and develop solutions to build diversity, equity and inclusion, and racial equity in our workforce. This is not a box that can be checked—it must be a sustained effort."

Applicants are asked to write an essay (250-300 words) describing their goals, leadership style and how they believe the program will benefit them. Applications will be reviewed for fall and spring 2023 leadership programs. Scholarships will cover the majority of the program. The number of scholarships provided will be based upon funding available.

Businesses can still donate to the scholarship and applicants can now apply for the 2023 season by visiting Inforum.

Courtesy of West Michigan Woman.


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