A Time to Honor, Reflect, and Inspire Change

A Time to Honor, Reflect, and Inspire Change

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Black History Month provides this country the opportunity to shine light on ignored history and neglected truths, as well as to inspire us throughout the year to fight for progress. We draw that inspiration from the acts of great Americans who fought for noble ideas and the most basic right of human dignity. The struggle is constant and we all have a part to play.

As a leading think tank in the United States addressing policy through an intersectional and gendered lens, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) marshals social science research and brings it to bear on the inequalities women face every day. Since IWPR’s founding, our research has explored the differences experienced by women across different races and ethnicities. Black women in the workforce face greater pay inequality than their White counterparts, but are the fastest growing group starting their own businessesThey vote at higher rates than any other group, but have the lowest representation in elected office.

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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Consider making a donation to IWPR today to help us continue to produce quality research from all backgrounds. Our research is used daily by the media, policy makers, and the general public to draw attention to the needs of women and craft solutions.

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108 years is too long to wait for pay equalityDonate now.

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.

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.