“I’m just thrilled to be in a room with international women leaders!” Metropolitan Community College Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said Sept. 19 as she welcomed eight W-GDP delegates who are on a tour of the United States.
W-GDP is the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, and MCC was one stop for this W-GDP group over two full days in Kansas City. The delegates arrived here from San Francisco and would depart for New York, part of 2-1/2 weeks in the United States.
Metropolitan Community College was the only higher education stop on their U.S. tour. The White House established the W-GDP program last February, an effort to advance women’s economic empowerment on a global scale.
The women in the group that visited Kansas City represented Costa Rica, Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Rwanda.
At MCC, Chancellor Beatty gave an overview of the College and described the “stratification” of U.S. higher education. Community colleges were created in this country to democratize higher education, she said.
The delegates then heard brief presentations from Jeremy Davis, MCC economic development manager; Mitch Borchers, executive director for procurement and contract services; and Chocoletta Simpson, executive director for institutional equity and inclusion.
The delegates learned about MCC’s apprenticeship program, Corporate College business services, supplier diversity initiative aimed at minority- and women-owned businesses, and efforts to foster a culture of trust and respect, among other topics.
The women also asked questions — about how higher education in America parallels the systems in their home countries; about programs for high school dropouts (such as the Middle College Program at MCC-Penn Valley); about why there are more women students at MCC than men (a national trend); and about the process of investigating Title IX sex discrimination complaints.
The College became a stop on the W-GDP tour after MCC supplier diversity coordinator Chris Kelly heard about it at a KCSourceLink meeting. Courtney Brooks of Global Ties KC, which coordinated the local leg of the trip, said she was looking for companies for the delegation to visit.
“I expressed an interest to share our overall diversity accomplishments and Dr. Beatty as the first African-American chancellor of MCC,” Kelly says.
The international visitors’ Kansas City itinerary also included stops at the Black & Veatch Women’s Network and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Potential cultural activities included taking in the Plaza Art Fair and some Kansas City jazz.