Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of May 16, 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.

May 17, 2016 Panel: Employers need to involve themselves in skills gap solutions

If Wisconsin fixes its long-term skills gap problem, it’s going to be because employers help students early to figure out their best career options, according to a panel. That’s already happening in several places around Wisconsin, said Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy. But more and more employers need to help policymakers and schools ensure Wisconsin has enough skilled workers in the future, he said.

[…] It’s more than just technical skills, she added, noting that companies look for “soft skills” such as critical thinking. Colleges also need to help address the several obstacles students face outside of school, such as hunger and homelessness, she said. “We have to make sure that the students have the credentials they need,” she said. “But they need to have all those wrap-around support services and good career planning to really be a productive value employee.”

State of Reform: FamilyCare awards $532,000 in grants to support BH access

ADELANTE MUJERES: $24,237 for increasing food security for Latina women and their young children. The grant will benefit those living in western Washington County who are enrolled in classes such as GED Prep in Spanish, computer skills, job training, and parenting and personal growth classes. This program is intended to (1) Increase Latino Families consumption of fresh, local produce and, (2) Inform and refer participants to federal benefit programs in order to improve participants’ food security.

May 12, 2016

RGV Proud: Texas Veterans Commission Awards $300,000 Grant to Help Valley Veterans

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) announced that the Texas Veterans Commission through the Funds for Veterans Assistance program, awarded VIDA a $300,000 grant to provide educational and job training opportunities as well as supportive services for veterans in the Rio Grande Valley. The program name for this grant is VIDA for Veterans!

The TVC grant will allow VIDA to infuse its comprehensive wraparound support services program, which includes an intensive case management component that provides career pathway choices to underserved, unemployed, and underemployed Texas veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents (Beneficiaries) for all counties of the Rio Grande Valley.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit


New Overtime Rule is Tangible Progress for Women, Especially Mothers and Women of Color

by Jennifer Clark

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule on raising the salary threshold under which working people can earn overtime pay. The final rule will double the current salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, directly benefiting 12.5 million workers, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. The rule is undoubtedly major progress for workers struggling to support their families at a decent standard of living, and especially for working women in the United States.

According to EPI, over half of the workers—6.4 million—who will directly benefit from the increased threshold are women. A report produced last year by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and MomsRising also found that women of color and single mothers—groups that are especially economically vulnerable—will disproportionately benefit: under a slightly higher threshold, nearly half of currently exempt black and Hispanic women workers and working single mothers would gain coverage. (The analysis was based on the $50,440 threshold originally proposed by DOL; the final rule, set at a slightly lower earnings threshold, will likely show an even greater proportion of women of color and single mothers benefiting, as these groups tend to earn less than women overall.)

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The final $47,476 was chosen because it represents the earnings of the 40th percentile of salaried workers in the South. Women are now the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with young children. In the South, half of all breadwinner mothers are women of color, with black mothers especially likely to be carrying the responsibility their family’s economic security. Four out of five black mothers in the South are breadwinners, compared with half of white and Hispanic mothers in the region. With over 2 million working mothers across the country newly covered under this final rule, more families, like Cynthia’s, can benefit from additional earnings or, if not obligated to work long hours with no extra pay, more time with loved ones.

For other women who have shared their stories with MomsRising, overtime pay has been the difference between making ends meet and choosing between paying for electricity at home or gas to get to work. While more still must be done to ensure women can make ends meet for their families without working overtime, the new rule gives millions of working women who work long hours already without compensation a little more breathing room.

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With fair pay (at time and a half) for workers who work more than 40 hours per week now becoming a reality for so many women earning less than $47,476 per year, it’s time for policymakers to make paid family leave and equal pay realities as well—major steps that will also help to bring women and their families above poverty and toward a middle class living standard.

Read more stories and analysis in IWPR and MomsRising’s 2015 report, How the New Overtime Rule Will Help Women & Families.

Find updated estimates on how many workers will be affected under the final rule from the Economic Policy Institute.

Jennifer Clark  is the Director of Communications at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit