Year in Review: IWPR’s Top 10 Findings of 2016

It has been a busy, surprising couple of months at IWPR, but our research continues to inform public dialogue and tangible policy change. Just last week, DC passed one of the most progressive paid leave laws in the country – a hard-fought win for local and national paid leave organizers. IWPR’s paid leave simulation model analyzed a previous version of the bill and found that providing paid leave in DC is affordable policy with economic, social, and health benefits. Read IWPR’s testimony before the DC City Council and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann’s letter in The Washington Post and blog on Huffington Post for more on why paid leave in DC and beyond would be more affordable than opponents warn.

Below are our Top 10 findings from the year and a sampling of the impact of our research so far. The work continues in 2017!

#1. Hispanic Women Will Wait 232 Years for Equal Pay, If Current Trends Continue.

In advance of Latinas Equal Pay Day on November 1, IWPR released projections for equal pay by race and ethnicity. The exceptionally slow pace of progress for Hispanic women is nearly two centuries behind when White women should expect to see equal pay with White men (2056). Black women are not projected see equal pay until 2124. Previous IWPR analysis found that women overall will not see equal pay until 2059. Read coverage of IWPR’s findings on trends in earnings for women of color in Glamour , ThinkProgress , Huffington Post, and TIME.

#2. Equal pay would cut poverty by more than half for working women in 28 states and the nation overall.

California’s working women would have earned $51.8 billion more dollars with equal pay, an earnings increase that, by itself, is greater than the entire economy of South Dakota ($45.9 billion).

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann and Program Director Ariane Hegewisch contributed expert commentary to the The New York Times’ Room for Debate and  PBS NewsHour, respectively, on what Massachusetts’ new equal pay law means for future efforts to close the gender wage gap.

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#3. Job Segregation keeps 1 in 4 working women in traditional care, serving, and cleaning roles with lowest pay.

Undervalued and Underpaid in America, a recent study by IWPR and Oxfam America finds that workers in growing, low-wage, female-dominated jobs—who are disproportionately women of color—earn less than men working in similar jobs. For instance, maids and housekeepers, who earn $9.94 per hour, are 90 percent female, while janitors, who are mostly men, earn 22 percent more, at $12.13 per hour. Read the coverage in MarketWatch, Fortune, and New York Magazine.

  • IWPR’s Barbara Gault and Oxfam’s Mary Babic wrote an op-ed on the findings for PBS NewsHour, “The Economy Undervalues Women’s Work and That Needs to Change.”
  • IWPR Program Director on Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch answered some frequently asked questions on the wage gap for Oxfam America’s blog, “Why DO women earn less than men? And other vexing questions.” (A great resource for how to respond to common questions from a wage gap skeptic!)

#4. Women account for only 1 in 3 workers in good, growing, middle-skill occupations.

IWPR’s Pathways to Equity initiative and new interactive website, womenandgoodjobs.org, aim to show how improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs can help close the wage gap and improve women’s economic security, while also filling skills shortages in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation (where women average only 11 percent of the incumbents of growing, middle skilled jobs). The analysis finds that many women work in jobs that already have a similar skill profile to better paying, male-dominated jobs—jobs that employers report are facing skills shortages. IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and JP Morgan Chase’s Chauncy Lennon delve into what the findings mean for closing the gender and skills gap in an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report. Read more about the findings in MarketWatch, BloombergBusiness, IndustryWeek, Vox, The New York Times, and Pacific Standard.

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#5. Supportive services, such as child care, are key to success for parents in college or job training programs, but lack of funding means child care is out of reach for many.

Impact on Higher Education: In 36 states around the country, availability of on-campus child care actually declined in the last decade. IWPR’s state-by-state and national analysis finds that many states have rules, such as work requirements, that make it difficult for students to get child care subsidies. IWPR’s findings were featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate, New York Magazine, MarketWatch, The Hechinger Report, and NPR, since the briefing paper’s release in September. Watch a Chronicle for Higher Education video interview with IWPR’s Barbara Gault on the challenges facing low-income female students.

Impact on Workforce Development Programs: New IWPR survey results reveal that 97 percent of job training administrators, including those based at community colleges, say that supportive services—such as child care, housing, emergency cash, and transportation assistance—are key to helping participants complete job or skills training programs, but programs lack funding to offer enough services to meet demand. As one administrator responded, “Supportive services are critical. All of the training and job placement efforts in the world aren’t going to be effective if the trainee can’t get to/from work, doesn’t have child care resources, or can’t overcome other barriers to getting and keeping the job.”

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  • Read more insights from the administrators on IWPR’s blog and read coverage of the findings in NextCity.org, “What Keeps Women Out of Career Programs — and What Will Make Them Stay.”
  • The survey revealed that nearly one in three (32 percent) administrators said domestic violence services are some of the greatest unmet needs for women participants. IWPR’s Job Training Success and Economic Security for Survivors Project teams hosted a webinar on promoting job training success among survivors. On IWPR’s blog, read an interview with Erika Yingling of YWCA of Greater Cincinnati on how workforce development programs can support survivors of violence.

#6. Native American women saw the largest declines in wages over the last decade, with their earnings falling more than three times as much as women overall.

Black and Hispanic women also saw wages decline around three times as much as women overall in the last decade. As half of American families with young children have a breadwinner mother, women’s earnings are important for families. An IWPR analysis of breadwinner mothers by race/ethnicity found that the majority of Black, Native American, and Hispanic breadwinner moms are single and raising a family on their own, while the majority of White and Asian/Pacific Islander breadwinner mothers are married. See coverage of the findings in New York Magazine, Slate, and Ebony, and watch the HuffPost Live chat (with nearly 23,000 views) with IWPR’s Julie Anderson. (Read the series of quick figures to get state-level data on each.)

#7. At the current rate, women inventors will not reach parity in patenting until 2092.

Only 8 percent of patents have a woman as the primary inventor. See coverage of IWPR’s briefing paper and full report on the gender gap in patenting in Fast Company, Bloomberg, The Nation, The Atlantic, and The Hill.

“In the years ahead, we will need to tap the brainpower of top innovators around the world to meet persistent and emerging challenges, such as climate change, cyber security, the need to modernize public benefits access, and much more. Diversity in innovation is essential to social progress.” – Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR

#8. Paid sick days improves public health and benefits employers and the economy.

IWPR’s new briefing paper brings together rich body of evidence on the economic, health, and social benefits of paid sick leave. In the last few months, IWPR’s research on paid sick days has informed public debate in Arizona, Chicago, and Michigan.

#9. The Pacific West is the most broadly diverse region in the country, according to a new measure of regional demographic diversity developed by IWPR.

The new measure scores each region based on the number of women from each racial and ethnic group, rather than on the concentration of the non-White population as a whole.

As The Atlantic’s CityLab notes in its coverage of the findings,

Only when lawmakers gain a detailed understanding of who the most vulnerable women are and what specific problems they face can they create an environment where all women thrive.

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann told CityLab, “We need to understand that diversity is a nuanced concept, with tremendous variation, so that we can target policy solutions and make sure no group slips through the cracks.”

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#10. 1 in 6 high school girls experienced sexual dating violence in 2015.

IWPR’s new chartbook, “High School Girls and Violence 2015,” highlights the alarming prevalence of violence against teenage girls, with differences by race and ethnicity. Hispanic teen girls are twice as likely as their male counterparts to experience sexual violence and Black teen girls are 1.5 times as likely. Another briefing paper, “Intersections of Domestic Violence and Economic Security,” reviews available social science and policy research on the economic impact of domestic violence.

“The barriers to economic security facing survivors of intimate partner violence are two-fold. Survivors face a high likelihood of economic abuse from within their intimate relationships, and research finds that higher health care costs, lack of paid sick and safe leave, and limited access to help with legal fees create challenges to achieving, safe, healthy and economically secure lives.” – Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski, Director of IWPR’s Economic Security for Survivors Project.

 

 

New Survey of Job Training Administrators Indicates Supportive Services are Critical to Completing a Program

IWPR recently released findings from a survey of job training administrators. Below are some insights from administrators captured in the survey. Read the full report, Supportive Services in Workforce Development Programs: Administrator Perspectives on Availability and Unmet Needs at iwpr.org and read the press release with key findings, “Job Training and Community College Administrators Say Supportive Services are Key to Program Completion, but are Not Adequately Funded.”

Ninety-seven percent of administrators say supportive services are important or very important for job training retention or completion. One survey respondent from a trade association wrote,

“Supportive services are critical. All of the training and job placement efforts in the world aren’t going to be effective if the trainee can’t get to/from work, doesn’t have child care resources, or can’t overcome other barriers to getting and keeping the job.”

Another individual from a community college said,

“[Supportive services] are essential for us, a community college serving a diverse student body. The primary obstacles our students face are child care, transportation, and earning enough to cover their living expenses. These concerns take precedence over their academic coursework when the student is struggling to address them, and they negatively impact student retention at our institution.”

Administrators identify financial considerations and child care as the most common reasons job training participants do not complete training.

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One administrator said,

 “Child care is the biggest challenge for students. By providing an on-campus option where students can drop off and pick up their dependent children, the college has alleviated that barrier for several of my students who otherwise couldn’t take their full-time schedule and graduate on time. This child care opportunity is a huge component to the students’ success.”

Another said,

“We have multiple mothers who credit the child care offered during classes as the reason they are able to attend. Without child care they would have to stay home and take care of their children as opposed to coming in and learning new skills.”

Program completion is higher in programs of shorter duration and in those that report that their participants’ supportive service needs are well met. One administrator spoke of the difference supportive services made for a job training participant,

“We had one young man who walked to his first job, which was 12 miles from his place of living! When he confided…this and suggested to his case manager he didn’t know how long he could continue, the case manager…began by providing a bus pass for one month, then secured a bicycle as a short-term solution. The participant was also enrolled in a financial education course, with a goal of saving towards a vehicle that could be efficient and affordable. He obtained a vehicle in time to avoid the winters.”

Yet, programs lack the resources to provide all the services their participants need. Administrators identify child care assistance as the greatest unmet need for women in job training programs, and housing and emergency cash assistance as the greatest unmet needs for men.

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Administrators say that lack of funding is the greatest challenge to providing more supportive services. Faced with limited resources of their own, many establish partnerships with other organizations that provide the services their job training participants need. One respondent notes,

“Because we have long-standing partnerships with a wide range of local social service providers, we are often able to connect students easily with the assistance they need outside of our organization. This has helped countless individuals on their path to economic self-sufficiency and empowerment.”

By continuing to build and strengthen partnerships, organizations can improve access to supportive services among job training participants. Other possible strategies for ensuring that participants’ needs are met include striving to increase supports that represent participants’ greatest unmet needs, including the experiences and viewpoints of program leaders in making the case for increased public funding for supportive services, and encouraging the use of funds from underutilized sources such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training for supportive services.

To read the full report, visit iwpr.org.

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.