Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of January 26, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


January 27, 2016

PBS NewsHour: The only girl in school to spark an interest in welding

“The bigger picture is, why aren’t there more women going into welding or why aren’t there more women going into manufacturing,” said Rude. “From day one, women are fed the story of pink and princess,” she added. “It’s definitely a false representation of individuality.”

Watch more stories of students challenging gender stereotypes, part of our series called Outside the Box.

January 27, 2016

Lowell Sun (MA): Task force tackling underemployment

At a meeting of the governor’s Task Force on Persons Facing Chronically Higher Rates of Unemployment on Monday, Baker announced that his administration would invest $5 million of his fiscal 2017 budget into targeting chronically high unemployment. The breakdown of those funds will include $2 million to create an Economic Opportunity Fund, for investing in community-based organizations who partner with businesses to offer job training and hiring opportunities for people who face employment barriers…

Gregg Croteau, UTEC’s executive director, who was appointed to the task force when it was formed last March, told The Sun on Tuesday that his organization is “really optimistic” that Baker’s budget will include funding for helping people re-entering society after incarceration. “This Economic Opportunity Fund is really well-crafted in the sense that it also recognizes there’s a need for the supportive services as well,” Croteau said, including child care, transportation and help with substance-abuse issues.

January 26, 2016

Education Week (blog): Workforce Training Programs Should Consider Equity, Acting Ed. Secretary Says

States, communities, school districts, non-profits, and the federal government need to make sure equity is the watchword for implementation of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. That was the message John B. King Jr., the acting U.S. Secretary of Education, delivered Tuesday to the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act national convening, a conference of 700 state leaders and other organizations working to implement the new law.

King is hoping that job training facilities, community colleges, and adult-education providers will think about the needs of English-language learners, minority students, low-income students, students with disabilities parents, and other “nontraditional” students as they implement WIOA, which generally governors job training programs.

He urged job training programs, post-secondary institutions, and other adult education providers to think about potential barriers students might face in completing their training or degree, such as lack of access to child care or transportation.

January 22, 2016

EvoLLLution (an online newspaper on higher education): Community Colleges and the New Workforce Development Ecosystem

By Darlene Miller, Executive Director, National Council for Workforce Education

Finally, to address the personal barriers and challenges faced by so many students, community colleges must improve their partnerships with local community-based organizations. Nonprofits are well-equipped to provide case management and strong support systems to help students overcome barriers and challenges. Through high-quality education programming, providing a range of academic and non-academic support services, and employer engagement strategies to ensure the partnership meets the demands of local industries, these types of partnerships are able to leverage institutional capacities and resources to ensure student success

January 21, 2016

Duluth News Tribune: Program aims to help people land better-paying jobs

The program has been dubbed Connect Forward, and it will build on five years of work at a Financial Opportunity Center operated by Community Action Duluth and funded primarily by $885,000 already funneled through LISC, to date.

Miller pledged that her organization will assist 150 people through the program in the coming year. She said Community Action provides accessible evening classes twice a week, with coaching, child care and food available on site.

Marissa Jackson came to Community Action Duluth in March 2014 as a young single parent living in her parents’ home. She said staff members helped her create a budget and locate affordable housing, but employment difficulties have been difficult to overcome.

“Finding a job for a single mom is hard, especially when you don’t have child care support,” she said. “Jobs in my field, which is working as a personal care assistant, can be challenging because they often involve working nights and weekends.”

January 21, 2016

Industry Week: Leadership Lab Gives Women in Manufacturing a Boost

The national trade group Women in Manufacturing, along with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, today announced the creation of a Leadership Lab for Women in Manufacturing. The training program will provide executive education and training to its members in mid- to high-level management roles in manufacturing careers.

January 20, 2016

Costal Courier: Georgia missing a chance to strengthen its workforce

By Melissa Johnson, a policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

While most adults who rely on cash and food assistance in Georgia lack any education beyond high school, not enough of the state’s workers are trained for so-called middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

A new Georgia Budget and Policy Institute report shows how the state could better leverage the potential of safety net programs Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) to build a more skilled workforce. Using these initiatives to educate Georgians with low incomes would have long-term benefits for the state.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Why paid leave in DC would be more affordable than you think

by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

At a hearing on January 14, the D.C. City Council heard from a number of researchers who testified about the estimated cost of implementing the proposed Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015. By allowing up to 16 weeks of paid leave, D.C.’s proposal is very generous—by U.S. standards—and has attracted national attention. The researchers’ cost estimates ranged from $281 million to upwards from $1 billion annually.  Why such a large range? As is often the case with economic analysis, the devil is in the details, or more specifically, the assumptions.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimated the cost would be at the low end, $280.8 million, affordable enough to be covered by less than one percent of payroll. IWPR’s testimony was based on an economic model that has been developed across 15 years and is the only estimate presented to the D.C. Council that relies on the best available data on who takes leave and for how long.

The higher estimates from the other researchers—who have expertise on taxes and regional business,  not paid leave—fail to take age, gender, and income sufficiently into account. As a result, they assume that many more workers would take leave and would take substantially more leave under the DC program than they do now. These are not reasonable assumptions.

First, let’s consider who will take leave through the public program. Almost every employee at some point in his or her work life experiences an extended own illnesses, the serious illness of a loved one, or the birth or adoption of a child, but typically not all in the same year and certainly not every year. In a single year, about 11 percent of District workers take some form of leave. Around two-thirds of leaves currently taken in DC are for one’s own illness; one in four leaves are to care for other family members; and, perhaps surprisingly, the lowest share of leaves taken (13 percent) are maternity and bonding leaves. We estimate the number of these leaves will increase under the Council’s program, but not drastically.

The proposed DC bill provides full wage replacement for workers earning less than $52,000 per year, and partial wage replacement for higher earners. Importantly, nearly half of DC workers have earnings over $52,000 and would receive less than full wage replacement; they may look to their employers, not the program, for the full wage replacement to which they have become accustomed.

Next, researchers must make a reasonable assumption for how long worker leaves will be under the new program. IWPR’s model predicts a moderate increase in the length of leave—from 3 weeks to 4 weeks at the median—again, not a drastic increase. Half of workers taking leave would be expected to take 4 weeks or less.

While the proposed bill increases access to paid leave, especially to low-wage and part-time workers, job protection for taking leave would still not cover those employed by smaller establishments with fewer than 20 employees. Rhode Island, which recently implemented paid leave, found that over 40 percent of leave takers said they would not have used the program were it not for the job protection, indicating how highly workers value the right to return to their jobs.

There are many other reasons for workers not to take the full leaves for which they are eligible, including the reluctance to fall behind at work and the desire to advance in their career. Research on paid sick days has shown that, even when workers report that they have paid sick days, the typical worker misses only two days of work in a given year.

The final assumption to consider is crucial: what will men do when offered paid leave? Men are half of the city’s potential leave-taking workforce. If men are offered greater access to paid leave, will they take it—and take the full amount—to bond with a new child or to care for a sick relative? In the first ten years of California’s paid family leave program, men’s proportion of leaves taken for family reasons climbed from 17 percent in 2005 to 30 percent in 2013. In Norway, where leave is nearly fully paid and taking leave is less stigmatized, only 21 percent of fathers took the maximum that was available to them in 2012.

Perhaps one of the most unrealistic assumptions made when estimating the costs of paid leave is that we live in a world where men are equally as likely as women to take leave for caregiving. By guaranteeing paid leave for all workers, we may get there one day.

Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., is the president and founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a DC-based think tank. She is an economist and received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work on women in the workforce.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit