Community Forum – Barriers to Employment for Low-Income Women


What: Women’s Fund Community Forum on Barriers to Employment for Low-Income Women

When: Dec. 8, 12 to 1:15 p.m.

Cost: Free. But RSVP to 244-1219 or

Where: Community Room at the Redding Library

“Barriers to Employment: The Obvious and the Subtle” is the subject. A brown bag lunch will be available for $5.

The forum is sponsored by the Women’s Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation. It is the second in a series of speakers’ forums bringing together a range of viewpoints to discuss complex problems facing women and families in the area.

There will be three panelists. Dean Germano is CEO of Shasta Community Health Center, a nonprofit health care system serving Shasta and surrounding counties. Lena Locke is a small business owner employing women with limited job experience, including those receiving CalWORKS benefits or recently released from prison. Buffy Tanner is scholarship coordinator at College OPTIONS, which encourages and helps students in our area seek higher education.

Employment is key to a person’s economic self-sufficiency, which is key to a healthy economy and viable community. For low-income women in our area, the barriers to employment seem obvious: inadequate skills and few jobs. Yet for many, the issues are more complex. The panelists will discuss the problems and challenges from their perspectives, as well as current and potential strategies.

As CEO of Shasta Community Health Center for 18 years, Germano oversees the provision of primary and preventive health care services and dental care to low-income families and individuals through clinics in Redding, Anderson, Shasta Lake, and Happy Valley. He is also a board member of The California Endowment, a private state-wide foundation which seeks to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities.

Locke is a Shasta County native. She returned to the area in 2004 and founded her Redding-based company, Spartan Sports, with the specific goal of employing low-income women who need work experience.

Tanner has worked in various roles at College OPTIONS since its inception in 2003. It is a partnership of 12 education-related organizations and The McConnell Foundation, which seeks to strengthen the college-bound culture in Shasta and Siskiyou counties, and to help students and families make informed decisions about post-high school educational opportunities.

The Women’s Fund was founded at The Shasta Regional Community Foundation to address the persistent challenges facing women and families in the greater Redding area, and to seek solutions through the power of collective philanthropy.

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