Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of April 18, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


April 19, 2016

Capital & Main: Women Convicts Train for a Future

Before Legend’s visit, In the Public Interest joined with the National Employment Law Project (NELP) to release a new report to bring attention to how unions are creating job training programs nationwide to help people coming out of prison. Programs like Washington’s own Trades Related Apprenticeship Coaching (TRAC) program prepare prisoners and the formerly incarcerated for one of the most difficult parts of reentering society, finding work.

[…] Washington Corrections Center for Women’s TRAC program trains incarcerated women in building and construction work, providing a leg up in earning entry into a union apprenticeship program that leads to a career with good wages and benefits.

Columbus Underground: Job Training Service Provides Bridge to Competitive Employment

Greenleaf, a Columbus job training facility targeting veterans, individuals with learning disabilities, and others “who face significant barriers to employment,” will launch their Community Work HABits program this year.

[…] Filling in that gap includes training in soft work skills, like how to interact with colleagues and how to adjust to a work environment. People in training will also learn the day to day tasks that accompany independence, like budget planning, navigating public transportation, and actively seeking out employment.

April 15, 2016

Prior Lake American: Back to school for South Korea native

A lot can get in the way of getting an education. During the May 2015-March 2016 period at the GED course, a total of 23 students attended and four passed at least one of the four GED tests. Six students showed level gains from their assessment at the start of the class. Some of those students didn’t attend often enough to accurately assess their progress. The Prior Lake-Savage site offers free childcare in the building for students who need it, but even then it can be hard to find the time and transportation required to complete the course.

ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com: Baker, Polito Announce Workforce Skills Capital Grants

NECAT [New England Center for Arts and Technology, Boston] will deepen its capacity to provide culinary training and support services to low-income adults facing barriers to employment, by purchasing several pieces of equipment, including kitchen appliances and computers.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of April 11, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


April 15, 2016

NPR: This Bakery Offers A Second Chance for Women After Prison

It’s [Together We Bake] a bakery in Alexandria, Va. that makes granola, cookies and kale chips for local eateries and a local Whole Foods store. It’s also a job-training and coaching program for women in need of a second chance — many of whom have served time in prison, or are on probation following criminal charges.

[…] Together We Bake also weaves in resilience training and empowerment classes to help trainees cope with their challenges. The sessions are overseen by Wright, who has a background in social work, and they’re often led by women who’ve been through the program. The curriculum is based on a book titled Houses of Healing, which lays out a mindfulness-based, research driven approach to help people change their behavior and overcome feelings of negativity and lack of self worth.

April 14, 2016

The Hour: FESP program helps women in need continue education

Now, The Family Economic Security Program, which comes from the Fairfield County Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls, is expanding, having started in September at Bridgeport’s Housatonic Community College. […] For five years, Norwalk Community College has been at the forefront of a program that provides low-income women with scholarships, emergency funds, financial and achievement coaching, and peer-to-peer mentoring.

[…] Citing trends that show younger, single mothers often working in low-wage jobs, if they are able to be employed at all, the program’s founders decided to tackle a skills gap that is keeping more women and families in poverty. Today, the enhanced FESP entails a workforce development component, coaching support, financial literacy development and access to community supports and more.

April 11, 2016

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Va., CVS collaborate on training program for young adults with disabilities

After graduating from Varina High School in Henrico in June 2014, Rushing entered a job training program at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Augusta County.

Each year, the center helps about 3,000 people with disabilities attain independence, medical rehabilitation and employment through a variety of services. The center offers training in more than half a dozen trades, including automotive maintenance, food service, information technology and manufacturing.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

 

 

5 Points to Bring Up to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap

5 Points to Bring Up to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap

by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Ariane Hegewisch

The 79 percent wage ratio figure, the most commonly used figure to measure the gender wage gap in the United States, is often derided as misleading, a myth, or worst of all, a lie. In this blog, we argue that the figure is an accurate measure of the inequality in earnings between women and men who work full-time, year-round in the labor market and reflects a number of different factors: discrimination in pay, recruitment, job assignment, and promotion; lower earnings in occupations mainly done by women; and  women’s disproportionate share of time spent on family care, including that they—rather than fathers—still tend to be the ones to take more time off work when families have children. Just because the explanation of the gender wage gap is multi-faceted does not make it a lie.

When a phenomenon, such as the wage gap, can be explained by various factors, it does not mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist.  In fact, those explanations are the exact factors to look at when identifying interventions to solve the problem. Take another phenomenon for example: poverty. Black and Hispanic populations in the United States have higher poverty rates than the white population. When analyses control for education, place of residence, type of job, and many other factors, the remaining differences in poverty rates are smaller but not gone. It is not a myth or a lie, then, to say that black and Hispanic Americans are disproportionately more likely to live in poverty. Indeed, they are.

Here are five key facts to remember about the gender wage gap:

1) Other data series on weekly or hourly earnings are not necessarily more accurate than the annual figure.

Some claim that proponents of equal pay use the 79 percent annual wage ratio figure because it shows the biggest wage gap, 21 percent, when other data series on weekly and hourly earnings available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show slightly smaller gaps. There is no basis for the claim that weekly or hourly data are a more accurate representation of inequality in pay between men and women. The 79 percent annual wage ratio figure is the historical headline figure, likely because it allows the longest comparison across time and includes the broadest range of different kinds of earnings, including self-employment income. Annual bonus payments, for example, are a big part of remuneration in some fields and are included in the 79 percent figure, but are excluded from the weekly or hourly earnings figures. Both the weekly and annual earnings ratios are for full-time workers only; if part-time and part-year workers were included, the ratios of women’s to men’s earnings would be even lower, as women are more likely than men to work reduced schedules, often in order to manage unpaid childrearing and other caregiving work.

2) The annual wage ratio of 79 percent is actually a moderate estimate of gender pay inequality.

If part-time workers were included, a figure that Statistics Canada uses, the wage ratio would be 69.9, a gap of 30.1 percent.  The United Kingdom has used life-time earnings ratios.  One IWPR study found that across 15 years (ending in 1998, using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics), the typical American woman earned just 38 percent of the typical man. The Urban Institute, using Social Security earnings data, finds that the typical wife earns about 50 percent of what her husband does across their working lives. In fact, the 79 percent figure falls in the middle of the range of these other estimates.

3) Women’s ‘choices’ are not necessarily choices.

Wage gap skeptics emphasize that women ‘choose’ different and lower-paying college majors than men, implying such differences mean that the wage gap measure is not a good measure of economy-wide wage inequality.  ‘Choice’ is, of course, an unverified assumption. There is considerable evidence of barriers to free choice of occupations, ranging from lack of unbiased information about job prospects to actual harassment and discrimination in male-dominated jobs. For instance, a library assistant may choose to go to school for 6 more years to become a librarian, or she may choose to go to school for half that and become an IT support specialist, if she knew that librarians and IT support specialists were paid roughly the same per year. In a world where half of IT support specialists were women and half of librarians were men, men and women might ‘choose’ very differently than they do now. We do know that young women and men generally express the same range of desires regarding their future careers in terms of such values as making money and having autonomy and flexibility at work, as well as time to spend with family.

4) There is no proof that being a mother makes a woman less productive on the job.

There are legal cases, as well as social science research studies, that show that just by the mere fact of being a mother, women’s advancement opportunities shrink, and just by being a father, men’s grow. And why should women who may be decades past the phase of active childrearing still be suffering a wage penalty?  While it is true that women typically take more time away from work for child rearing than do men, that decision often makes economic sense when a wife’s wages are lower than her husband’s—equal pay would likely lead to more equitable sharing of child rearing. In fact, women’s human capital (generally measured as years of education plus years on the job and in the job market) are increasingly equal for women and men.  Furthermore, research shows subsidizing the cost of child care and providing paid parental leaves of up to six months would help women return to work sooner, and would help men to more equally share care.

5) Discrimination is still a factor—a big one—in the gender wage gap.

It is true that, when factors such as occupation and parental or marital status are used as control variables in statistical models aiming to explain what ’causes’ the wage gap, the size of that gap is reduced, and what is left unexplained is generally thought to possibly be the result of discrimination. But it is just as likely that discrimination affects these ‘control’ variables as well as the size of the remaining gap. Peer reviewed literature surveys published in mainstream economics journals, including a recent study by Francine Blau and Lawrence Khan estimate that 38 percent of the gross wage gap remains unexplained when factors reasonably thought to affect productivity are included as control variables in the models. Blau and Kahn estimate that occupational segregation—where women work in lower paid jobs, typically done by women, and men work in higher paying jobs typically done by men— along with segregation by industry and firm, are now responsible for half the wage gap.  While some occupational differences result from differences in preparation for the labor market by women and men, others result from different job assignments by employers when women and men first participate in the labor market.

It is important to look at the 79 percent figure as a baseline to understand the true magnitude of the problem, so we can intervene on factors such as employer bias, career preparation, and time spent on family care. When we look at the control variables, the findings do not indicate that the wage gap is actually a smaller problem than we thought. The findings indicate that women need more information and opportunity to pursue certain lucrative careers, like those in STEM, where the largest employers are only now providing paid family leaves that can encourage the more equal division between women and men. Redressing the US lag in providing paid family leave and subsidized child care can help, but so can improved information about pay and stronger enforcement of our equal opportunity laws.

Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., is a labor economist, president and founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and a MacArthur Fellow.

Barbara Gault, Ph.D., is the vice president and executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Ariane Hegewisch is a study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of April 4, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


April 7, 2016

Monroe Courier: ‘Baby shower’ to support women’s education center

The Mercy Learning Center has a saying — educate a woman, educate a family. […] But a low-income woman in need of literacy and job skill programs could face an additional challenge if she is also the parent of a small child. Mercy’s day care center allows the women with infants and toddlers to attend classes and counseling sessions and meet with tutors without any worries about their young children.

KSPR: Closing the gender gap could grow the economy by $2.1 trillion

Every U.S. state has the potential to grow its economy by at least 5% if it can narrow the gender gap over the next decade, the McKinsey report [The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in the United States] asserts. That means boosting women’s participation in the labor force as well as their (paid) work hours. It also means focusing efforts on creating jobs in industries that typically have hired fewer women than men, such as manufacturing and business services.

[…] Creating those jobs will require an additional investment of at least $475 billion, much of which would probably need to come from the private sector, the report suggests. That money could be invested in everything from infrastructure and innovation to talent development and skills training.

April 6, 2016

YourAlaskaLink: Downtown Soup Kitchen Hopes to Help Homeless Women Learn Job Skills

“We want to give women more than just the shelter, we want to give them a hand up and an ability to get some job training and to have something to get up in the morning for so we started the bakery,” Sherrie Laurie who is the Executive Director for the Downtown Soup Kitchen said.

The Bakery consists of a morning class where the women learn the technical aspects of baking before heading down to the kitchen in the afternoon, where they are taught the hands-on skills.

March 30, 2016

TheEagle: Veterans in San Antonio guided forward after being homeless

Guerra and the three members of his so-called navigator team combine the roles of outreach specialist, peer mentor and case manager. True to their title, the navigators seek to guide veterans living on the streets or in shelters into a place of their own, and then, over time, toward self-reliance.

The approach treats housing as the start of their reintegration rather than the endpoint. The navigators assist veterans in pursuing a new future by connecting them to drug and alcohol treatment, mental health counseling, medical care, job training and other supportive services.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org