Think. Drink. Mingle. is back for its second year! This summer, The Century Foundation will host a three-part panel series aimed at bringing together young professionals working in NYC to expand their networks and discuss policies that promise to build a better future—all while enjoying a spread of wine and cheese. Whether you’re new to the city, here for the summer, or just really enjoy meeting other incredibly smart people, you’re invited to join us as we share a drink (or two) and discuss issues that matter.

Event 1 — Can the Cycle of Poverty Be Broken?

June 15 at 6:00 PM

The American Dream is broken. The kind of social mobility that once inspired our country’s global reputation as the land of opportunity has become increasingly elusive in today’s climate of rising economic inequality. Now more than ever, where you start out in life strongly determines where you end up, and this reality is leaving millions of low-income families perpetually trapped in our nation’s poorest neighborhoods.

But the stories told by resilient youth in New York and Baltimore offer reason for hope. The personal triumphs of those who beat the odds illustrate that with the right support systems in place, disadvantaged youth can successfully launch into adulthood—and out of the cycle of poverty.

Join us as we invite Brooke Richie-Babbage of the Resilience Advocacy Project and TCF’s Stefanie DeLuca and Halley Potter to discuss lessons that New York and Baltimore can offer on interrupting intergenerational poverty. Is the cycle of poverty inevitable, and if not, how can we ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to thrive?

Watch the full program from this event below:

Brooke Richie-Babbage is the founder and executive director of the Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP). She has spent over 12 years as a lawyer and advocate for children and youth in poverty. In addition to running RAP, Brooke is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Baruch School of Public Affairs. Prior to founding RAP, Brooke worked as a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at NCLEJ in New York. She has worked on health access issues at CDF-NY, taught the history of social welfare law and policy at Tufts, and consulted for CLASP around anti-poverty and child care policy.

Stefanie DeLuca is a fellow at The Century Foundation and an Associate Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. Her work often investigates the way that social context (e.g. family, school, neighborhood, peers) affects the outcomes of disadvantaged young people, primarily in adolescence and at the transition to adulthood. Stefanie is the recipient of a William T. Grant Foundation Scholars award for her research on housing and the author of the book Coming of Age in the Other America.

Halley Potter is a fellow at The Century Foundation, where she researches public policy solutions for addressing educational inequality. Her work focuses on school integration, charter schools, and college admissions. She is coauthor, with Richard D. Kahlenberg, of two books on diversity in charter schools. Prior to joining The Century Foundation, Halley taught at Two Rivers Public Charter School in northeast Washington, D.C.

Event 2 — A Survival Guide to the Uber Economy

June 29 at 6:00 PM | Register Here

The traditional American workplace as we know it is changing. The days when employees spent decades working for a single employer are gone, and many of the benefits and securities of that old relationship have slowly disappeared with them.

Instead, over the past decades, a new norm for many modern workers has emerged—exemplified in part by the short-term, piecemeal work done by people in the “gig economy,” from Uber drivers to “TaskRabbits” to freelance journalists.

Join us as we invite TCF senior fellow Shayna Strom and Caitlin Pearce of Freelancers Union, and labor reporter Cole Stangler to discuss the future of work in America. In an era of shifting employee-employer relationships and diminishing worker protections, is it time for a new social contract? What can today’s graduates expect of tomorrow’s economy?

Watch the full program from this event below:

Shayna Strom is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where she works on issues related to the future of work, future of organizing, poverty, and inequality. She is also a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, teaching classes on “Making Social Change.” She has worked with several prominent foundations and spent a number of years in government. Previously, she did organizing work in Ohio, New York, and New Jersey. In her spare time, she was a founding senior editor and writer for Next City, a nonprofit journalistic outlet about cities.

Caitlin Pearce is Director of Member Engagement at Freelancers Union, the nation’s largest group representing the growing independent workforce. Overseeing advocacy, education, and community growth for the 300,000-member union, Caitlin is a guiding force in the union’s drive to help the new workforce build a more sustainable, mutualistic society. She is currently leading Freelance Isn’t Free, a national campaign to put an end to nonpayment and late payment for independent workers. She lives in Brooklyn and moonlights as a freelance musician.

Cole Stangler writes about labor and the environment at In These Times. His reporting has also appeared in The Nation, VICE, The New Republic, The American Prospect, and International Business Times.

Event 3 — Overeducated, Underemployed: Is College Worth the Costs?

July 13 at 6:00 PM | Register Here
Years of higher education used to pave the road towards increased job security and upwards economic mobility. But in recent years, the security that once accompanied a college degree has begun to fade as more and more college graduates face unemployment or underemployment. In today’s labor market, debt is often the only assured outcome of schooling, while the positive ramifications seem few and far between.

As the twenty-first century economy continues to evolve, just who is our postsecondary education system leaving behind?

Join us as we invite TCF’s Robert Shireman, Zakiya Smith of Lumina Foundation, and LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow to discuss the future of higher education in America and the trade-offs that young people should take into account when deciding their future. Is a college degree worth it? What alternatives should young people consider before diving into a traditional four-year university program?

Watch the full program from this event below:

Robert Shireman is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation working on education policy with a focus on for-profit college accountability, quality assurance, and consumer protections.He served in the Clinton White House as a Senior Policy Advisor to the National Economic Council and later for the Obama Administration as deputy undersecretary in the Department of Education. Currently, in addition to being a part of TCF’s education team, Shireman serves on the board of uAspire, a national nonprofit that helps low-income students find quality, affordable college options.

Zakiya Smith is as a strategy director at Lumina Foundation, where she leads the work of the Foundation to develop new models of student financial support for higher education. Most recently, Smith served as a senior advisor for education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she focused on developing the President’s higher education policy.  Smith also served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Education where she developed programmatic, policy and budget solutions to respond to pressing challenges in college access, affordability, and completion.

Dr. Gail O. Mellow is President of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the United States. During her tenure at LaGuardia, the college has won numerous awards and achievements. Dr. Mellow spearheads local economic development with LaGuardia’s Small Business Development Center and NY Designs, a business incubator for design professionals. She is coauthor of three books and more than thirty articles. Her third book, Minding the Dream: The American Community College, was published in 2008.