Elected leaders, experts to speak at two-day ‘Middle Class Summit’ in South Florida

America’s middle class shrank significantly over the past half-decade.

For two days this week, a South Florida nonprofit plans to help local leaders guide residents up the economic ladder to join the middle class and tackle issues like rising health care costs, unaffordable housing and criminal justice reform.

The 2022 Middle Class Summit takes place Wednesday and Thursday at Seminole Hard Rock & Casino Hollywood. The event is open to the public.

The summit’s organizer, Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of South Florida, describes it as an opportunity for community leaders to develop innovative answers to a variety of issues tied to economic status, including education, housing affordability, health care costs and criminal justice reform.

A host of elected leaders, experts and dignitaries in related fields are scheduled to speak. Among them: U.S. Reps. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Broward County Mayor Michael Udine; Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava; Deputy Assistant Secretary Lenita Jacobs-Simmons of the U.S. Department of Labor; Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade; and Byna Elliott, global head of advancing Black pathways at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Panel discussions will center on equity in health and education, pathways to economic mobility, ensuring youths have a pathway to economic self-sufficiency, improvements in education to boost employment, criminal justice reform, how businesses can attract and retain talent by bridging the “skill gap,” and how to overcome barriers to economic well-being.

The event will also feature “fireside chats” on growth and adaptation to changing service enrollment and networking opportunities aimed at sharing best practices with community leaders.

Once the economic stratum of most Americans, the middle class nationwide has shrunk over the past five decades, contracting from including 61% of adults across the United States in 1971 to 50% last year, according to data the Pew Research Center published in April.

While household incomes overall rose “considerably” since 1970, Pew found middle-class household incomes trailed upper-income households in earning gains and that lower-income households lagged even more.

Now more than ever, there is a need for an elevated and collective leadership to help families find a clear path to reconcile their economic mobility and basic needs, OIC South Florida President and CEO Newton Sanon said.

“Economists warn that our nation is headed for a recession. Many families are already feeling it at the gas pumps, grocery stores and certainly as they attempt to solidify affordable housing here in South Florida and around the country,” he said in a statement. “The objective of our summit is to help build, elevate and sustain a strong middle class.”

He added, “At the OIC of South Florida, it’s important that we continue to elevate the voice of the underrepresented, and positively impact communities by fostering timely discussion with key stakeholders to develop strategy and deploy solutions. The issues we’ll discuss at the summit affect absolutely everyone.”

The 2022 Middle Class Summit runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18.

Admission costs $50 for Day 1, $75 for Day 2 and $100 for both days. Student tickets cost $25 for both days.

Click here for more information or to register for the event.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Just a concept

    August 16, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    They didn’t shrink they got blocked out with all that strangling construction

  • Gloria

    August 16, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    I quit engaging at shoprite and presently I produce 80h – 120h… Dollar how? I’m in operation online! My work didn’t exactly create Maine happy therefore i created a choice to want a chance on one factor new… once four years it had been thus heavy to quit my day job but currently I couldn’t be happier.|XZ-50| Heres what I do………xurl.es/pay1

  • Joe Corsin

    August 16, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    That’s what you get when you vote to uphold the interests of the rich especially if you aren’t rich. Money doesn’t trickle down folks. Vote blue for Christ sakes!!!

Comments are closed.


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