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University of Phoenix co-hosts JFF Center of Racial Equity webinar on supporting Black learners and workers in building and utilizing social capital

By Sharla Hooper

Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research Chair Dr. Kimberly Underwood serves as panelist in webinar discussion highlighting findings and practical strategies of collaborative market scan

University of Phoenix co-hosted with Jobs for the Future (JFF)’s Center for Racial Economic Equity a February 7 webinar, “Building Professional Social Capital for Black Learners and Workers,” with a discussion addressing professional social capital disparities and solutions for driving equitable economic advancement for all. Kimberly Underwood, Ph.D., MBA, chair, Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) in the College of Doctoral Studies was featured as a panelist.

Professional social capital, which refers to the resources that arise from a person’s network of relationships that can help mobilize and advance education and career goals, is a crucial element in establishing racial economic equity in the workforce.

“Professional social capital sets individuals up with success in the workforce,” states Underwood. “Black learners and workers too often encounter discriminatory systems and practices in education and the workplace, but professional social capital can be a powerful tool to address these systemic barriers.”

University of Phoenix and JFF Center for Racial Economic Equity are partnering on efforts to support Black learners and workers in building professional social capital to advance their careers. The findings of the University of Phoenix Career Institute® 2022 Career Optimism Index® study informed the collaboration and resulting in-depth market scan.

The webinar highlighted the market scan’s results, which analyzed existing strategies for the development of professional social capital that are being implemented by community-based organizations, postsecondary institutions, non-profits, and employers, and implications.

Intended for employers and postsecondary institutions that are interested in advancing economic advancement for Black learners and workers, the virtual event offered attendees the opportunity to learn about practical strategies for supporting Black learners and workers to build and utilize social capital and explored JFF’s upcoming Social Capital Framework for postsecondary institutions and employers. The Framework, created with support from the University of Phoenix, will offer a model which organizations could adopt and apply as a sustainable method of social capital building for their workforce and students.

View the February 7, 2023, webinar recording here.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit

About the JFF Center for Racial Economic Equity

The JFF Center for Racial Economic Equity accelerates Black economic advancement by identifying solutions and best practices to disrupt occupational segregation and eradicate the Black-white wealth gap. For more information, visit