Intimate Partner Violence Impedes Job Training Success: Engaging Workforce Development Program Interview

Along with housing and counseling, economic security is often reported as a top need of survivors seeking safety. Stable employment and the ability to support one’s family is a key factor in whether a survivor is able to leave an abusive relationship. For survivors who need to improve their skills or pursue new careers, workforce development programs can provide an important path to economic security and safety.

Unfortunately, research indicates that intimate partner violence (IPV) can impede job training participants’ ability to enroll in and complete programs. A 1997 survey of 30 program participants in Bergen County, New Jersey found that, among those who reported abuse, 47 percent said their partners were not supportive of their educational pursuits and 40 percent had partners who actively impeded their participation. The recent Intimidation and Intimate Partner Violence Screening project in Cincinnati detected interference tactics that abusers commonly use, ranging from discouraging enrollment and participation, to using physical violence to deter attendance. Other studies find that IPV escalates when a survivor is enrolled in education or training. In a study interviewing 122 women in a Pennsylvania job training program, the attrition rate for victims was six times higher than for women not facing IPV.

While many IPV service providers have developed trauma-informed and responsive job training programs for survivors, the majority of vocational opportunities are offered by nonprofit and government agencies that may not have this lens. Without policies that promote survivor safety and address common barriers and trauma-informed program design many programs may create unintentional obstacles that impede the success of participants who have faced or are facing abuse.

How Workforce Development Programs Can Support Survivors of Violence: Program Interview

Economic Security for Survivors project (ESS) staff interviewed Erika Yingling, Director of Family and Community Intervention at the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, to learn how domestic violence service providers can engage workforce development agencies and employers.

ESS: Why should workforce development address survivor needs?

Erika: According to the National Center for Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience a form of physical violence by an intimate partner, making universal screening a must in all areas of community and health based work. IPV significantly affects the financial well-being of victims, and social isolation is a tool used by abusers to maintain control over their partner. Hence, women and men who seek to better their educational and employment opportunities are often hindered in doing so due to the abuser’s efforts.

ESS: What additional factors must workforce development programs consider when serving survivors and how can services be trauma informed?

Erika: Workforce development programs must be trained in identifying and screening for IPV. Other factors to take into consideration are the gender of the person screened and the screener, the environment in which the screen is conducted, and the screeners’ knowledge of appropriate responses and community resources. Furthermore, lethality risk and knowledge of these incredibly important indicators must be taken into consideration when working with any client who has experienced a form of gender-based violence. It is important for the screener and agency conducting the screen to be supportive, empathetic, and nonjudgmental in their responses. In addition, a trauma informed response to victims of violence requires the agency as a whole to be trauma informed in all of their work with community members and their own employees.

ESS: Recognizing the prevalence of workplace harassment and its impact on survivors, how can you help prepare them to be safe and thrive in these programs and in the workplace?

Erika: A victim service agency can aid in the preparation of individualized safety plans for a victim experiencing IPV and work with the partner agency to make sure this plan is carried out in order to promote safety. All workplaces should be knowledgeable about the signs of domestic violence and laws that protect survivors in the workplace. The YWCA works directly with various employers to train staff on safety and legal issues as they relate to domestic violence in the workplace. More so, state coalitions like the Ohio Domestic Violence Network can aid in referral, technical assistance and legal remedies for victims who may experience discrimination. A multidisciplinary and coordinated community response to domestic violence in the workplace is best practice.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 29, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.


December 1, 2016

The Roanoke Star: TAP’s SwiftStart tackles two issues at once

“SwiftStart” will help pay for quality child care over the short term while parents earn credentials through various training programs that can help them land a good job – the type of job that will make it easier for them to pay for childcare.

[…] “As most parents know the cost of child care can be a barrier to employment [and] training to advance your employment,” says project director David Moore, “what SwiftStart does is try to marry those two issues.” In part by helping to pay for quality child care while parents or guardians get job training.

Penobscot Bay Press: Funding hope and removing obstacles

This new program in Washington County, called “Family Futures Downeast,” aims to knock down every obstacle so that these single mothers can get a college education and career training and pull their families out of poverty.

Knocking down those obstacles can mean doing the most mundane, but essential, things: The program provides gas cards so the mothers can get to class. Classes are scheduled in the evening so the mothers can work during the day. High-quality child care is supplied while parents are in class. The cost of tuition, books, supplies, even computers is covered. And each woman is assigned a mentor, who can provide emotional support, help her set goals and keep to them, and help negotiate the many logistics of what it means to be poor, a parent and a student, all at the same time.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 14, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.


November 17, 2016

The Leominster Champion: MWCC programs on target for meeting future job needs

Today, another group of students is receiving its certificates in Industry Readiness from the Advanced Manufacturing program at Mount Wachusett Community College at its Devens campus.

The graduates are a diverse group ranging in age from 19 to 56. Some are looking to begin their careers, while others are looking for a fresh start. What they all have in common is the foresight to take advantage of a free six-week program that gives them the skills needed in today’s advanced manufacturing workplace.

[…]John Henshaw, dean of workplace development at MWCC is also quick to note the MWCC program has an 80 percent placement rate with students.

“We have a proven track record of getting our graduates good jobs,” he said. “Our programs have excellent content, great equipment for hands-on learning, and a dedicated staff of instructors. The value added is that we also provide training, support, and counseling to help graduates find jobs.”

Democrat and Chronicle: Free job training part of $6M grant to MCC

Monroe Community College has been awarded a $6 million federal grant to increase tuition-free education and training programs for in-demand jobs.

[…]This funding will be used to establish and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and other training providers.

[…] By encouraging regional collaboration and delivering on the promise of tuition-free training at community colleges, these grants will help strengthen local communities across America,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, in a statement about the grants.

November 16, 2016

The Boston Herald: Program aims to help low-income parents get jobs

Community Labor United, a group that collaborates with local trade unions and community groups, is launching a new program to help low-income parents get job training to enter high-paying hospitality and trade jobs, and to get childcare.

The Independent Women’s Project — a partnership with Brookview House, Building Pathways and others — wants to remove obstacles both mothers and fathers face when trying to work, mainly access to affordable childcare to cover their often irregular hours. The program is designed to get construction and hospitality industries and childcare providers to team up and come up with ways to support workers.

 

November 13, 2016

The Union: Retail ready: Jobs training available through new Hospitality House thrift store

For the past two years, Hospitality House has operated a culinary training program in which “students” work in the shelter’s commercial kitchen. Now, there is a new job training program available to HH guests. Earlier this summer, Hospitality House opened a thrift store which is used to teach skills needed to succeed in the retail sales industry.

“We use whatever means we have to help give them job skills,” explained Debbie McDonald, HH Development Director, who oversees education, fundraising and communications.

[…]Hospitality House is the only emergency homeless shelter in Nevada County, offering 54 beds throughout most of the year and expanding to 69 beds in winter. The men, women and children who stay there are referred to as guests. They receive vouchers they can spend at Bread and Roses.

“We are a shelter that provides pathways to housing. We are not a destination. We help people remove obstacles to housing. One of those obstacles can be the lack of job skills,” added McDonald.

November 12, 2016

The Daily News: Kreher’s first farm to join veterans jobs program

Kreher’s Farm in Clarence, a major egg and organic grain producer with operations across western New York, is the first farm in the state to be approved for a new on-the-job agribusiness training initiative for military veterans.

The initiative, an outgrowth of a workgroup formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, takes an identified need for opportunities serving veterans interested in pursuing careers in farming and agriculture. Cornell’s Small Farms Program team paired with the State Department of Veteran’s Affairs to expand existing DVA programs in skilled trades industries like electrical and plumbing.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 7, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.


November 9, 2016

The State Journal-Register: Goodwill launches employment program for veterans

Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries has established a VetLink employment program for military veterans, including referrals to financial, educational, transportation, childcare and housing services.

Land of Lincoln President and CEO Sharon Durbin said in an announcement the program is a natural extension of the Goodwill job-training mission.

[…]The program provides one-on-one career guidance, including job-skill evaluations, setting employment goals, and developing education and training programs. Veterans who complete the program also will be helped with professional clothing for interviews, according to the announcement.

The Pasadena Journal: Saving Our Young Black Men – Connected Youth to Jobs

The Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. recently concluded the inaugural Saving Our Young Black Men Job Skills Training Program – Connecting You to Jobs. The program targeted 18-21 year old young men (and women). It focused on providing skillsets that they need for life long success. The concept of this program is to hold a hand out to give a hand up.

[…]The Job Skills Training Program, taught by Casswell Goodman, gets our young adults ready for the job market by teaching them how to fill out effective job applications, put together job winning resumes and learn how to successfully interview in order to win jobs. The free program provided each participant that completed the training with a free suit, a $25 gift card and the opportunity to test and certify through the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to have access to a database of over 600 jobs.

November 4, 2016

Herald and Review: Now they’re cooking: Homeless men get much-needed job skills from culinary class

Bernard Sangster was looking for a new direction for his life when he got out of jail this summer.

So the offer he got while staying at the Salvation Army was too good to pass up, and that was to enroll in the shelter’s Culinary Arts Program that started Aug. 31. Sangster said he knew his way around a barbecue grill but didn’t know anything else about cooking.

Part-way through the eight-week class, he earned his food service sanitation manager certification and landed a job running the broiler at Cheddar’s.

[…]Two previous eight-week sessions produced 13 graduates, 10 of whom were able to earn that all-important certification. Six did so this time around, and the remaining three plan to take the test again Nov. 18.

Two other graduates, in addition to Sangster, found jobs while taking the training.

Our Work Continues

Tuesday’s election results sparked a wide range of responses across the nation and the world. Here at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, our commitment to using information to advance women is stronger than ever. This election season, with its turmoil, contentiousness, and disappointments, surfaced and amplified issues that require a hard look at how policies affect people who differ by gender, race, age, and experiences.

The election season powerfully raised the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment, implicit and explicit bias, women’s leadership, and inequality in ways that our research can and will continue to build upon.

Over its nearly 30 years, IWPR has brought timely, unassailable research to bear on the great policy challenges that face our country, including access to paid family leave, child care, equal pay, and freedom from violence, across administrations and policy cycles and in states and localities throughout the nation. After Tuesday’s election, for example, residents of two more states, Washington and Arizona, will have access to paid sick days, and IWPR is proud of how its data has played a role in these advances.

IWPR takes heart that over the coming months and years, we will have the honor and opportunity to work alongside policymakers and activists to ensure that well-informed policy solutions are put forward, championed, and implemented.

Facts and reliable data seemed hard to come by during this election cycle, and false statements were difficult to quickly correct. IWPR’s founding mission is to ensure that policies are not based on misleading information or outdated assumptions. Today, we roll up our sleeves, still believing that knowledge is power, a renewable energy that cannot be exhausted or extinguished. We will look for ways to harness that power, together, as we bring our research to bear on the challenges that continue to face us.

We would love to hear from you about research needs and partnership opportunities going forward.

In community,

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Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., President


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The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. Find out more about IWPR at iwpr.org.

Follow IWPR on Twitter @IWPResearch and Facebook.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 31, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.


November 3, 2016

KENS5 San Antonio: New job training program opens on east side

Kendra Franklin and Tamika Young are women on a mission. They say they will finish their training to become Certified Nursing Assistants and then keep right on learning. Franklin said she would like to become a doctor. Young said she wants to inspire her children to pursue higher education and great careers.

They are both involved in a training program sponsored by Alamo Colleges.

[…]It’s called the Eastside Education & Training Center and it has brought new life to an old school building.

The program is located in what used to be Pfeiffer Elementary, an SAISD school.

After a $1.5 million grant-funded upgrade, the new center is expected to welcome its first class of students on November 14.

Students who qualify will receive free tuition, books, supplies, childcare, and transportation assistance

November 2, 2016

Santee Patch: Inmates to Plant Trees in Lakeside Under Job Training Program

A job training program at the East Mesa Detention and Re-Entry Facility is taking root at San Diego County parks. Trees and plants that were cultivated and grown at the jail’s greenhouse will be planted at five parks across the county this month, including the morning of Nov. 3 at El Monte County Park.

The program started in July 2014 to help inmates develop skills and work habits needed to secure honest employment after their release. Gardening can be therapeutic and gives inmates a sense of purpose while serving time behind bars. The work they do for County Parks also helps inmates build healthier connections with the community.

October 31, 2016

The Journal: Learning Center focuses on medical, industrial trades

The Unlimited Learning Center in Cortez has revamped its adult education program to focus on the industrial trades in addition to its career training in the medical fields.

“We offer specific pathways to careers that pay well so people have a better chance of getting a sustainable job in the area,” said director Anne Miller. “We’re open to anyone in the community — people who have been laid off, want to find a new job or go back to school.”

[…] Miller said the Center recognizes there is an education gap for many adults which prevents them from succeeding in the difficult course work and testing required to become certified in medical and industrial trades.

Basic math, English, and science courses for GED and college entrance exams are free. Pell grants are available for college courses. The Learning Center also offers free childcare.

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Reno retail center gets facelift with the help of Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center students

The retail center just south of the Plumb Lane and South Virginia Street intersection is in the process of getting an upgrade…While the remodeling of retail centers throughout the region has started to become a trend for owners to attract and retain tenants, this particular project has a unique aspect to it.

Coldwell Banker Commercial partnered with Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center to give nearly a dozen students the opportunity to get hands-on construction experience while also paying the students for their work. The students worked under the supervision of Coldwell Banker Commercial’s in-house General Contractor, GPS Property Maintenance & Construction LLC.

The program is for people “who want to get ahead in life,” Mark Huntley, business and community liaison for Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center, said.

They offer 15 trades including culinary arts, electrical, office administration, hotel and lodging, automotive, medical administrative assistant and more. It is a two-year program that also provides students free housing, food and medical care.

 

Access to Better Jobs: Workforce Development Projects aim to Lift Up Working Women

For nearly 30 years, IWPR has analyzed and charted women’s experiences in the workforce and recently launched two projects aimed at examining strategies to continue to encourage, recruit, and retain women in jobs that provide family-sustaining wages. One project, Pathways to Equity, focuses on improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs in three sector of the economy, while Job Training Success, examines how socioeconomic supports, such as child care and transportation subsidies, can lead to success in job training programs, particularly for women participants.

In Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs, funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation’s New Skills at Work initiative, IWPR examined 473 occupations looking for opportunities to advance women into higher paying male-dominated, middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs—occupations that require more than a high school education, but not a college degree—often pay a living wage and can act as a stepping stone to a higher paying career.

Manufacturing, IT, and Transportation jobs are projected to grow in the next decade, but employers report they are finding it difficult to fill these middle-skill positions. While women make up only 7 percent of workers in the manufacturing field, 533,000 good middle-skill jobs will become available over the next decade. These numbers are similar in both IT (women 29%, 240,000 available jobs) and transportation (women 9%, 1.3 million available jobs). If just 10 percent of women moved into similar but higher paying middle-skill jobs, often the sectors they are already working, their median incomes would increase by more than 50 percent.

women-in-middle-skill-jobs

The lack of women in these higher paying male-dominated occupations is due, in part, to conventional belief about gender roles and superficial differences in the skills necessary to succeed in certain jobs. For example, a Library Assistant could embark on the traditional path of attaining a college and master’s degree through a six year program to become a Librarian. Or, a Library Assistant can choose to become an IT Support Specialist, which requires less than half the years of education and would provide earnings that are about the same as a Librarian. IWPR’s report offers steps employers can take to reduce industry shortages of skilled labor and close the gap between women and men in good middle-skill jobs. For example, employers can provide more training and mentoring, flexible workplace policies, and provide a safe and welcoming work environment for women.

In addition to the report, IWPR launched a website, womenandgoodjobs.org, which helps users identify pools of skilled women workers who could be tapped to fill shortages, ensuring that the economy benefits from the talent of its whole workforce. The website offers an interactive database to explore ‘on-ramp’ occupations—those occupations dominated by women with many similar traits and duties as higher-paying jobs dominated by men—and associated target occupations with higher earnings. Read the Initiative’s research findings and explore the site at womenandgoodjobs.org.

While women are over half of the total middle-skill workforce, they make up only a third of middle-skill workers who make at least $35,000 per year.

In February 2016, IWPR launched its Job Training Success Project with the release of the report, Supportive Services in Job Training and Education, funded by the Walmart Foundation. The report presents a summary of research findings on the importance, effectiveness, and availability of support services for job training program participants in the United States. The report also provides recommendations on funding sources available to combat the common barriers to employment and training, such as lack of access to child care, transportation, and stable housing.

Job training programs offer individuals access to opportunities that prepare them for good jobs with family-sustaining wages. Challenges that hinder completion of these programs point to the need for better access to supportive services; however, few studies have researched the need or impact of these services on job training outcomes. The examination of which supportive services are available to job training participants and the evidence of these services leading to better outcomes are detailed in this 60 page in-depth report, which can be found on www.iwpr.org.

Previous research shows that 69 percent of low-income parents in education and training programs have children younger than six years old. Although 36 percent of organizations provided financial literacy or counseling and 48 percent provided transportation assistance, only 6 percent provided child care assistance.

More than three in ten women receiving job training through a WIA-funded program in 2013 did not complete the program, most likely due to low percentage (18%) who received support services.

Available funding for support services is decreasing every year. Integrated case management helps provide participants support and guidance as they navigate the various systems provide support services. Strengthening partnerships between organizations can maximize resources to provide the support services needed for individuals to complete their programs. An effective job training system that provides women with the necessary support to improve their options in the labor market is critical, and while this research takes a first step toward closing the information gap, further research is needed.